NEW YORK (AP) — Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and the rest of the Toronto Maple Leafs broke out of their scoring slumber with five goals in the second period against Henrik Lundqvist and wrecked the New York Rangers’ home opener with a 6-3 victory on Sunday night.
Toronto mustered only five goals total in its first two games of the season, but busted out against the Rangers, fueled by Kessel and van Riemsdyk, who both notched their first goal and first point of the season. Kessel chipped in two assists, and van Riemsdyk had one as Toronto earned its first win (1-2).
Defenseman Cody Franson staked the Maple Leafs to a 1-0 lead in the first during a power play, and Kessel, Nazem Kadri, van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and David Clarkson connected in the second — driving Lundqvist from the net after he stopped only 18 of 24 shots.
Kessel’s goal was also on a power play, and van Riemsdyk stuffed a puck under Lundqvist on a short-handed breakaway. Toronto has scored five power-play goals this season. New York didn’t allow any in its first two games.
Franson and Bozak both had a goal and assist, and Leo Komarov had two assists for Toronto. James Reimer made 24 saves before being forced out with 13:17 remaining following a collision with Rangers forward Dominic Moore.
Rangers forward Rick Nash, who was a question mark to even play due to the impending birth of his child, tied the game with a first-period goal and then left the game after the second period. Lee Stempniak brought New York to 4-2 in the second period.
Derick Brassard scored with 5:41 left against backup goalie Jonathan Bernier to close the scoring.
Cam Talbot, who took the loss in the Rangers’ 5-2 defeat at Columbus on Saturday night, mopped up for Lundqvist and finished with 12 saves for New York (1-2). Their only highlight of the night was the recognition of the banner commemorating New York’s Eastern Conference championship of last season.
The last time the Rangers allowed at least five goals in a period was Feb. 6, 2009, in a 10-2 loss at Dallas that Lundqvist missed because of the flu. He hadn’t yielded five in a period since Dec. 16, 2006, at Toronto when he was touched for eight — including five in the first period — of a 9-2 loss.
Toronto opened the scoring on Franson’s power-play goal at 7:45, his first tally of the season. Kessel worked the puck down in the Rangers end to Bozak in the left circle. Bozak then fed Franson in the right circle for a drive that eluded Lundqvist.
Nash scored his fourth goal of the season and extended his streak of at least one in each game. He took a quick pass across the zone from Martin St. Louis and deftly deflected the puck underneath the crossbar to tie it 1-all with 2:38 left in the first.
Then Toronto took over.
The Maple Leafs regained the lead 5:19 into the second on Kessel’s goal and made it 3-1 just 2:31 later when Kadri scored. Van Riemsdyk pushed the advantage to three goals at 9:43 before Stempniak was awarded a goal when video replay confirmed he scored before the net was knocked off its moorings.
But 59 seconds later, Bozak killed the Rangers’ momentum with his third of the season. Clarkson ended Lundqvist’s night with his first at 15:13.
NOTES: Kessel and van Riemsdyk were a combined minus-5 in the first two games. … Rangers LW Mats Zuccarello, who was banged up in Saturday’s loss, skated in warmups but sat out. Kevin Hayes made his NHL debut in his place. … Stempniak assisted on Brassard’s goal. … Toronto hasn’t gone winless in its first three games since 1990.
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