TORONTO — The Devils battled one of the best players in the NHL, but ultimately failed.
Pierre Engvall scored a goal in the third half with 4:42 left to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.
Engvall came into play with a 2-on-1 rush, with Ilya Mikheyev sending down a double minor for high-sticking, delaying and then firing his 11th goal of the season past Nico Daws.
“It was a hard fought game, a close game,” said Mark Giordano, who was making his Maple Leafs debut. “We had to be patient. Our penalty shootout made the difference.”
Mikheyev also scored a goal from a man down and Mitch Marner had the other goal for Toronto, who made 20 saves from Petr Mrazek.
“We’re doing a pretty good job of completing it for the other team,” Engvall added of the Leafs’ plan if they’re shorthanded. “Good structure there and then we use the speed to create opportunities.”
Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist, and Damon Severson also scored for New Jersey. Daws stopped 28 shots.
“They got frustrated with our 5-on-5 game,” said Devils coach Lindy Ruff. “We limited their top guys. The pair games we did 5v4 absolutely killed us.”
Giordano was playing for his home team for the first time after Sunday’s trade that brought 38-year-old defenseman and forward Colin Blackwell from the Seattle Kraken to the Maple Leafs. Giordano played on the third row with Timothy Liljegren while Blackwell ran on the fourth row with Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds.
“I felt good all day,” said Giordano. “I remember coming here as a young man and you had all your nerve.”
The Devils, who defeated the New York Rangers 7-4 on Tuesday, opened the scoring to 5:03 of the second game on a power play. Severson’s pass to Jack Hughes at the side of the net slid off a skidding Ilya Lyubushkin and through Mrazek’s pads.
Toronto smoothed things over at 12:30 when Mikheyev blew past PK Subban and batted Daws.
The Devils reclaimed the lead at 13:56, just after a penalty kick expired against Auston Matthews and Hischier tucked a loose puck in the crease.
But Toronto responded 58 seconds later when Marner took a pass from Matthews and shot a one-timer past Daws to set a career-high 27th goal of the season.
“I put myself in good areas and gave myself good opportunities,” Marner said. “A lot of them went in.”
Matthews also tied a career best with his 80th point of the season in setup.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/23/devils-give-up-short-handed-goal-late-lose-to-maple-leafs/ Devils give up shorthanded goal late, lose to Maple Leafs