Andersen makes 36 saves to lift Leafs over Golden Knights
TORONTO — There have been times this season when the Maple Leafs felt they deserved a better fate on home ice.
That wasn't the case Tuesday night.
Frederik Andersen made 36 saves to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1.
The visitors had 82 shot attempts compared to the Leafs' 40, including a 40-13 edge in a second period where Toronto barely touched the puck.
"We didn't get on the forecheck," Leafs forward Mitch Marner said. "Freddie Andersen has been unbelievable for us every single game. ... He's the reason we stole one tonight."
Connor Brown, Marner and Nazem Kadri scored for Toronto (10-5-0), which came in just 3-5-0 at Scotiabank Arena compared to a perfect 6-0-0 on the road.
"We got fooling around with the puck and they showed us how fast they were," said Toronto coach Mike Babcock, whose team registered a season-low 21 shots. "We were lucky to get out of the second."
Cody Eakin scored for Vegas (6-8-1), which got 18 stops from Marc-Andre Fleury.
"A lot was real good," Knights head coach Gerard Gallant said. "I liked the way we came in here and played against a real good Toronto team."
Despite the lopsided shot clock, Andersen credited his teammates with getting him clear looks at the majority of the attempts on goal.
"We're keeping a little bit more to the outside," Andersen said. "That makes my job easier."
The Knights were by far the better team through two periods and had a couple of opportunities to tie it early in the third down 2-1 only to have Andersen shut the door.
Patrick Marleau nearly made it 3-1 for Toronto moments later off a pass from Kasperi Kapanen on a 2-on-1 rush, but the veteran flubbed his shot wide.
The Knights got forward Max Pacioretty back from an upper-body injury but are still without center Paul Stastny. They lost another forward when Erik Haula went down with an apparent right leg injury five minutes into the third.
Haula, who collided with Marleau along the boards, stayed down for a few minutes as he was attended to by trainers from both teams before being stretchered off.
The Knights' power play, which came in ranked 28th, got a chance with under nine minutes left in regulation when Jake Gardiner went off for slashing, but it was unable to score.
Fleury made nice stops on Marner and John Tavares before Andersen stopped Rielly Smith's effort from the goal line with his arm and body with 2:33 left.
Vegas kept its foot on the gas with Fleury on the bench for an extra attacker, but couldn't get much in the way of pressure before Kadri scored his fourth into an empty net with 34.1 seconds left.
"It's very frustrating," Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore said. "We're starting to play more of our style and we're starting to play a better game, but we're not burying those chances."
NOTES: Brown's only other goal this season was into an empty net. ... Stastny (lower-body injury) is expected to be out another month.
Golden Knights: Pacioretty returns to Montreal for the first time in a game Saturday night.
Maple Leafs: Visits Ottawa on Thursday night.