TORONTO (AP) — Interim coach Peter Horachek scratched David Clarkson and started James Reimer and the Toronto Maple Leafs snapped an 11-game winless streak, beating the Edmonton Oilers 5-1 on Saturday night.
Richard Panik scored in Clarkson’s spot on the power play and Reimer, starting with Jonathan Bernier out sick, made 32 saves to help Toronto win for the first time since Jan. 9 and just the second time since Horachek took over for Randy Carlyle.
Luke Gadzic’s goal with 2.3 seconds left ended Reimer’s shutout bid.
Phil Kessel, Mike Santorelli, Morgan Rielly and Peter Holland also scored for Toronto.
With his team reeling and playing the second half of a back-to-back, Horachek had decisions to make. After pledging to send a message to players, he scratched the healthy but unproductive Clarkson.
That was Horachek’s call, but an illness to Bernier was out of his control. Antoine Bibeau got the call-up from the minors, but Reimer started on back-to-back nights for just the second time this season and rewarded his coach for that confidence.
Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth made 23 saves. Fasth was leaky on the goals Panik, Kessel and Santorelli and almost helpless on the ones Rielly and Holland put past him.
After lamenting the bounces not going their way during a 0-10-1 run, the Leafs (23-27-4) will take the breaks. And they’re more than happy to have something to celebrate like Rielly’s unassisted rush goal that included a toe drag right before his top-shelf shot.
Edmonton (14-30-9) lost back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 13 and 15. The Oilers were playing without wingers Taylor Hall and Benoit Pouliot, and it’s unclear if either will be back for their game Monday night at New Jersey.
Notes: Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf missed his sixth straight game with a hand injury. … It was Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night at Air Canada Centre. … Martin Marincin entered the Oilers’ lineup after being recalled from the AHL this week.
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