Nazem Kadri's OT goal gives Leafs wild win over Ducks
Ducks still manage point, clinch playoff spot
Nazem Kadri had two goals and two assists, including the overtime winner, as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Anaheim Ducks 6-5 on Thursday night.
The Maple Leafs (27-35-11) scored three power-play goals against the NHL's top penalty kill to win their fifth in the past six games.
"My mindset's totally changed," said Kadri. "Before I went pro, taking faceoffs, if I won them I won them if I lost them I lost them. Half the time I was trying to go forward on draws anyway to try to create offence."
Toronto surrendered four unanswered goals before rallying to even the score at 5-5 on Connor Brown's first NHL goal before Kadri sealed it 41 seconds into extra time.
"I thought he was real good," Leafs coach Mike Babcock said of Kadri's efforts.
"I think he has a chance to be a real good player," Babcock said. "He's done whatever I asked and competed hard."
Tyler Bozak also scored twice for the Leafs, with Frank Corrado chipping in with his first goal for Toronto.
Ducks clinch 4th straight playoff berth
Jamie McGinn struck twice for Anaheim (40-23-10), which clinched a playoff spot by earning a point against the Maple Leafs. Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Garbutt and Brandon Pirri rounded out the attack.
Garret Sparks made 33 saves for Toronto while Frederik Andersen turned aside 20-of-26 shots in defeat.
The Ducks, who have the NHL's top power-play, opened the scoring with the man advantage. Picked up in a mid-season trade with Buffalo, McGinn was first to a rebound opportunity in the slot and tucked the puck past the right pad of Sparks.
Bozak matched his effort just over a minute later. Playing his first game since Feb. 6 following a 21-game absence due to a concussion, Bozak fired a shot from the right point that eluded Andersen, who was screened in front by winger Josh Leivo.
The Leafs pulled in front less than three minutes later on a power play. Kadri snapped an 11-game goal drought with his first goal since Feb. 29 and 13th this season. The 25-year-old, perched in the slot, received a pass from in tight by linemate Milan Michalek, beating Andersen far side.
The puck landed on Michalek's tape after Brown's shot attempt was partially blocked by former Leaf Korbinian Holzer. Anaheim hadn't allowed a power-play goal in eight previous games.
Toronto scored again on its second power play in the second when Bozak depositing his second of the night after a cross-ice pass from Kadri.
The 30-year-old nearly had the hat trick a short while later after his rebound attempt in the Anaheim crease was ultimately denied by Andersen.
Corrado, a Toronto native, upped the lead to three with about three minutes left in the second period. The Ducks struck twice though in nine seconds to pull back within one.
McGinn beat Sparks with a wrist shot for his second power-play goal of the night, joined on the scoresheet immediately thereafter by Cogliano, who batted his own rebound attempt into the net.
The Ducks completed their comeback six minutes into the third on a short-handed goal from Garbutt who outmuscled Jake Gardiner for control of the puck in front of the Toronto net, flipping a backhand shot past the blocker of Sparks.
Pirri gave the Ducks their first lead since the early moments of the first period. Acquired from Columbus at the trade deadline, the Toronto native pounced on a point shot rebound, his first goal with the Ducks and 12th this season.
Playing in only his fourth NHL game, Brown evened the score at 5-5 with less than five minutes to go. The 22-year-old roofed a backhand attempt for Toronto's third power-play goal of the game. It was the first time all season that the Ducks have surrendered three power-play goals in a game this season.
Leafs on late-season upswing
The Leafs entered the night with four wins in their previous five games, shutting out Anaheim in the first meeting between the two clubs this season.
Ducks centre Ryan Kesler and defenceman Simon Despres both returned to Anaheim prior to the game. Kesler was forced to attend to a personal matter while Despres was sidelined by injury.
The Leafs honoured former Toronto mayor Rob Ford during the first TV timeout. Ford died on Tuesday.