Jason Spezza ignited a Toronto Maple Leafs comeback in Minnesota Saturday night but the Maple Leafs ultimately lost 4-3 in a shootout. The 38-year-old centre delivered two goals and an assist for Toronto.
Mats Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov scored in the shootout for Minnesota. Auston Matthews scored for Toronto in the shootout while Ondrej Kase and William Nylander did not.
The Wild jumped out to a 3-0 lead. They got on the board late in the first period. At 19:36, Jordan Greenway grabbed a carom off the post following a Matt Dumba shot that went through Jack Campbell’s legs. Greenway buried it into the wide-open side of the net. It was Greenway’s second goal of the season.
Minnesota received some good fortune for their second goal. On the power play, at 5:21 of the second period, Mats Zuccarello fired a pass towards the net, and it banked in off Justin Holl’s skate. That was Zuccarello’s seventh goal of the season.
Marcus Foligno extended the Wild lead to 3-0 at 8:07 of the second period. He knocked in a rebound in the slot for his 10th goal of the season. Foligno had an eventful game. He fought Wayne Simmonds in the first period. In the waning seconds of the third period, he ran over Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell. Inexplicably, it was not called a penalty.
Call it a comeback!
Veteran centre Jason Spezza sparked the Maple Leafs comeback. At 12:07 of the second period, Spezza fired a puck from the corner below the goalline and banked it into the net off Wild goaltender Cam Talbot.
At 17:51 of the second period, Spezza ripped home a one-timer from the bumper spot on the Maple Leafs power play. That was his seventh goal of the season.
The Maple Leafs evened the score at 19:10 of the second period when Spezza found Auston Matthews unchecked at the back post off a power play faceoff. Matthews has 14 goals on the season.
The game looked like it was getting away from Toronto. Then, in a matter of seven minutes and three seconds, they erased a three-goal deficit.
While the Maple Leafs really controlled shot share in the second period, outshooting the Wild 20-7, the run of play switched to the Wild in the third period, with Minnesota outshooting Toronto 22-11 in the third.
Toronto successfully killed a 5-on-3 that lasted for 1:48 in the third period, with Morgan Rielly and David Kampf in the box.
Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell turned away 37 of 40 Wild shots in the game. Wild netminder Cam Talbot had 39 saves on 42 shots.
Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly earned three assists in the game. Auston Matthews finished with a goal and an assist for the Leafs.
Joel Eriksson Ek added a couple of helpers for the Wild.
The Maple Leafs now boast a 17-6-2 record. They will head to Winnipeg Sunday to face the Jets.
Minnesota remains atop the Central Division. Recording their sixth straight win gives the Wild a 17-6-1 record.
Jason Spezza left the game after taking a slash on the hand in overtime. Mitch Marner did not play for Toronto and will not play in Winnipeg Sunday after a collision with teammate Jake Muzzin in Friday’s practice.
Quotes and takeaways coming soon.
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