Toskala stands tall in Maple Leafs victory
Foils goal-starved Rangers with 32 saves for 2nd consecutive win
The Toronto Maple Leafs will return home from a brief road trip with consecutive victories and a No. 1 goaltender.
Vesa Toskala, who alternated starts with Andrew Raycroft to start the season, made 32 saves to backstop the Maple Leafs to a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
Making his third straight start, Toskala set the tone early by stopping all 11 Rangers shots he faced in the first period.
Toskala allowed Jaromir Jagr's second goal of the season early in the second but shut the door the rest of the wayto helpToronto surpass the .500 mark with a 5-4-3 record.
Pavel Kubina, John Pohl, Nik Antropov and Chad Kilger found the net for the Leafs, who have scored an NHL-best 45 goals in 12 games.
Toronto began its mini two-game trip with a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh, thanks in large part to a 23-save performance from Toskala.
The Finnish netminder made a couple of big stops in the final two minutes of regulation as the Rangers mounted some pressure with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist pulled for an extra attacker.
Being on the road seems to have agreed with the Maple Leafs, who tightened up defensively, displayed a strong forecheck and cut down on penalties in Pittsburgh and New York.
They also showed little resemblance to the team that arrived in Pittsburgh having been outscored 17-9 in the third period.
Toronto had four goals to the Penguins' single marker over the final 20 minutes and kept a goal-starved New York outfit off the scoresheet in the third.
"The great part about being on the road is we were certainly more relaxed," said Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice.
"We were not happy down one [goal], but comfortable down one instead of forcing things. We just kept playing and kept playing. That's the game we have to play at home. A simple game."
The Rangers (3-6-1) suffered their fifth loss in six starts and have scored an NHL-low 16 goals in 10 games. In six of those contests, they have been held to one or no goals.
"I thought we played well in the first period. Something happened in the second," Jagr said. "We have to score more goals to win hockey games. Hank can't stop all the shots. It's too much pressure for him."
Prior to Saturday's game, New York was getting by with strong defensive play, allowing just 1.76 goals against.
But the Leafs finally solved Lundqvist, who came into the weekend with two shutouts in his previous three outings.
Pavel Kubina ended his shutout streak at 127 minutes, 33 seconds, with his first goal of the season and the 11th by a Toronto defenceman this season, tops in the NHL.
Pohl gave the Maple Leafs their first lead of the night at 15:46 of the second period, snapping a shot past Lundqvist, who set up the goal by giving the puck to Boyd Devereaux behind his own net.
Later, Antropov beat Lundqvist for his team-leading eighth goal of the season and Kilger fired his fourth into an empty net with 16 seconds left in regulation.
"They pretty much beat us with a good eight-minute stretch," Lundqvist said. "It's going to be too tough on the defence if we have to rely on a one-goal lead every night. We played well but we have to score more."
The Leafs return home to face the Washington Capitals on Monday before hitting the road for four games against New Jersey and divisional rivals Montreal, Ottawa and Buffalo.
With files from the Associated Press