Strong start for Leafs leads to win over Columbus

Leafs scorers: Kessel (6), Clarkson (3), Kadri (3), Winnik (1)
Blue Jackets scorers: Atkinson (5)
Goalies: Bernier (Win), 60:00 minutes played, 28 saves, 1GA: McElhinney (Loss), 60:00 minutes played, 23 saves, 4GA

(Daniel Winnik photo credit: SportSpyder.com)

The Leafs were set to face the Blue Jackets in Columbus for a Friday night Halloween match-up. There were luckily no ghoulish surprises for the Leafs or their fans who stayed away from the festivities to watch their team in action.

After struggling to have a strong start to the first period through many of their previous games this season, the Leafs managed to put the pressure on Columbus in the early minutes of the game and were rewarded with a goal from Phil Kessel as the period wound down. Although it originally looked as though the puck didn’t cross the goal line, it was eventually ruled a good goal upon further review.

As the second period got underway, it was the Blue Jackets who had the momentum shift in their favour, eager to tie the game. But Jonathan Bernier was determined to keep the Leafs ahead and as the period passed the halfway mark, the Leafs added to their lead on a power-play goal by David Clarkson.

It took only two minutes for Nazem Kadri to make it 3-0 just two minutes into the third period, putting the Leafs in full control of the game. But the Blue Jackets weren’t going to give up that easily and finally cut into the Leafs lead on a power-play goal with ten minutes remaining. Although the Leafs have had their share of difficulties in holding onto leads in the past, they weren’t going to let the Blue Jackets back into the game and added another goal on a shot from Daniel Winnik as the game reached its final minutes, giving them a 4-1 win.

Nazem Kadri spoke to the media after the game about scoring the Leafs third goal after having been slightly snake-bitten. “It’s a sense of relief of course, it’s nice to get some puck luck and a couple of bounces in there. Often times you can get frustrated, normally some of those pucks are in the back of the net. Its nice to get a road win.”

The Leafs will head home for their second half of back-to-back games when they face off against the Chicago Blackhawks at the ACC on Saturday night.

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