TORONTO (AP) — Pierre Engvall scored a short-handed goal with 4:42 left in the third period to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.
Engvall moved in on a 2-on-1 rush with Ilya Mikheyev off serving a double minor for high-sticking, delayed and then fired his 11th goal of the season past Nico Daws.
“It was a hard-fought game, tight game,” said Mark Giordano, making his Maple Leafs debut. “We had to stay patient. Our penalty kill was the difference.”
Mikheyev also scored a short-handed goal and Mitch Marner had the other score for Toronto, which got 20 saves from Petr Mrazek.
“We do a pretty good job closing it up for the other team,” Engvall added of the Leafs’ plan when they’re short-handed. “Good structure there and then we use the speed to create chances.”
Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist, and Damon Severson also scored for New Jersey. Daws stopped 28 shots.
“Our 5-on-5 play, we had them frustrated,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “We limited their top guys. The couple plays we made 5-on-4 absolutely killed us.”
Giordano played for his hometown team for the first time following Sunday’s trade that brought the 38-year-old defenseman and forward Colin Blackwell to the Maple Leafs from the Seattle Kraken. Giordano played on the third line with Timothy Liljegren, while Blackwell skated on the fourth line with Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds.
“I felt good all day,” Giordano said. “I remember coming here when I was a young guy and you had all the nerves.”
The Devils, who beat the New York Rangers 7-4 on Tuesday, opened the scoring at 5:03 of the second on a power play. Severson’s pass to Jack Hughes at the side of the net glanced off a sliding Ilya Lyubushkin and through Mrazek’s pads.
Toronto evened things at 12:30 when Mikheyev blew past P.K. Subban and beat Daws.
The Devils reclaimed the lead at 13:56 shortly after a penalty to Auston Matthews penalty expired and Hischier poked a loose puck home in the crease.
But Toronto responded 58 seconds later when Marner took a pass from Matthews and blasted a one-timer past Daws to set a career high with his 27th goal of the season.
“Been getting myself in good areas and giving myself good opportunities,” Marner said. “A lot of those have gone in.”
Matthews also tied a career best with his 80th point of the season on the setup.
NOTES: Mrazek got his first start since the March 13 outdoor Heritage Classic in Hamilton after clearing waivers Monday. … Jack Campbell hasn’t played since March 8 as he works his way back from a rib injury. … Toronto sported the team’s black Next Gen uniform — a look created in collaboration with Canadian pop star and Maple Leafs fan Justin Bieber. The uniform is the first reversible sweater in North American pro sports and 15th alternate set of threads in club history. Bieber watched the game from a private suite.
Devils: At Washington on Saturday night.
Maple Leafs: At Montreal on Saturday night.
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