Leafs win 2nd straight, hold off Islanders
Toronto builds quick 3-0 lead, needs empty netter for victory
James Reimer made sure the Toronto Maple Leafs went into the holiday break on a winning note.
Reimer stopped 30 shots while Clarke MacArthur scored a goal and added an assist to lead the Maple Leafs to a 5-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night.
"I'm pretty pleased that we got five out of six points this past week," Reimer said. "It's nice to get some results."
Nazem Kadri, Carl Gunnarsson, Joey Crabb and Joffrey Lupul also had goals for the Maple Leafs, who head into the league's two-day holiday break with two straight wins.
"Christmas is miserable any time you lose," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "We found a way to win."
Kyle Okposo, Franz Neilsen and John Tavares scored, and Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves for the Islanders in their second straight loss.
Toronto wasted little time getting on the board as MacArthur headed to the right crease and knocked a loose puck past Nabokov just 1:43 into the game.
Kadri scored near the end of a Toronto power play to double the lead at 4:22.
The Maple Leafs pushed it to 3-0 with 8:45 to go in the first when Gunnarsson beat Nabokov with a slapshot from the centre point for his first goal of the season.
"We came out strong," Reimer said. "They may have had some holiday distractions, but I feel we were just more determined."
New York finally broke through with 4:15 to go as Okposo came in on a break and beat Reimer to the glove side with a wrist shot. Nielsen connected on a power-play rebound 40 seconds into the second period to trim the deficit to 3-2.
Crabb put the Leafs back up by two with his sixth goal of the season, which came on a 2-on-1 short-handed break.
The Islanders pulled back within one when Tavares buried a rebound with 9:10 to go in the game.
Lupul closed the scoring on an empty-netter with 8.9 seconds left.
"We were a little sluggish," Tavares said. "We battled back, but we made too many mistakes and dug ourselves too deep a hole early."