Andersen’s 47 saves lead Leafs over Flames
TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs can thank their goaltender, Frederik Andersen, for making a shootout possible.
And then they can be grateful that William Nylander was able to take advantage of the opportunity by scoring the decisive goal in that shootout in a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
Andersen was superb, stopping 47 shots.
“Freddie was huge to help us get the win,” Nylander said.
“He was good, in particular in overtime, we gave up Grade-A chances,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “Both teams attempted like 70 shots. It was ridiculous.”
“Their goalie played well,” said Flames left winger Johnny Gaudreau, who missed his shot in the shootout. “I think we had a lot of looks. It’s frustrating, we could have easily won that game.
“We had a ton of chances, some good looks in the third and even in overtime. I think we controlled the play most of the time in overtime. You could tell (Andersen) was on his game tonight.”
Mark Giordano scored for Calgary (14-12-2) in regulation, and Morgan Rielly (18-10-1) replied for Toronto.
Mike Smith made 28 saves in the Flames goal.
“It was a good hockey game first of all,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. “I looked at the way our team played from start to finish, I like our game, put up 47-48 shots on net. The last couple of games we put up almost 90 shots. It was a good road game for us to build off of, (but) we’d like to get two points. You’ve got to stay with it. Lately, if you look at our games, we haven’t had any bounces.”
The Flames took the lead at 10:37 of the first period on the power play. Giordano scored his fourth goal of the season as his snap shot from just inside the blue line found its way through traffic. Sean Monahan and Troy Brouwer earned the assists.
Toronto’s Matt Martin was serving a holding penalty.
“It was high emotions, a lot of pucks each way,” Andersen said. “I felt good. I was a little screened on the goal. ... I think it’s important to be able to flip the page, and stay in the present. Just keep going and get ready for the next game. It’s going to come and be a challenge, too.”
The Flames had a 14-12 advantage in shots on goal in the first period.
“(Andersen) has been unbelievable this past month,” Toronto center Mitch Marner said. “He’s been the person we can depend on, the person winning us games. He made a couple of huge saves in overtime and in the shootout.”
The Maple Leafs tied the game at 18:47 of the second period on the fourth goal of the season by Rielly, a shot from the edge of the left circle near the boards.
“We played a very good game as a team, we were smart defensively,” Gaudreau said. “The one goal they scored (came after the puck) bounced off the glass, everyone was scrambling around and he just found a way to shoot it from the side of the boards and it found the net.”
The Flames led in shots on goal 26-21 after two periods.
Calgary put the puck into the goal at 5:10 the third period, but the goal was disallowed because the net had been dislodged.
Nylander hit the bar with a shot with just under three minutes to play in the third.
Each team had some good chances in the free-wheeling overtime, but Andersen was particularly good.
The Maple Leafs went on the power play with 31.5 seconds left in the overtime when Gaudreau was penalized for holding, but Calgary held on to force the shootout.
“I didn’t think we had very good legs,” Babcock said. “In the end, we found a way to win. It will look good in the standings.”
NOTES: Calgary RW Jaromir Jagr (lower-body injury) did not play Wednesday because of the nagging injury. He also missed the 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs in Calgary on Nov. 28. He could play Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens. ... Toronto C Tyler Bozak (illness) returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing a loss to the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday because of food poisoning. ... The Maple Leafs will visit Pittsburgh on Saturday. ... The Flames travel to Montreal on Thursday.