A milestone night for Nazem Kadri helped propel the Maple Leafs to an easy win over the Calgary Flames on Monday night.
The first of Kadri’s two goals was the 100th of his career, accumulated in 371 regular season games – all in a Leafs uniform. Toronto skated away with a 4-0 victory to close out their four-game homestand.
“It’s exciting,” Kadri said regarding both his career benchmark and also his latter goal, his 20th tally of the season. “It’s exciting to be able to share them with my teammates. Obviously I’ve put in a lot of hard work but, at the end of the day, the only reason I care about that is because it helps our team win.”
Toronto broke a scoreless deadlock with one minute, one second left in the first period when Mitch Marner deflected Nikita Zaitsev’s point shot past Calgary goaltender Brian Elliott.
In the middle frame, after the Flames just missed a chance to get the equalizer, Auston Matthews cleared the Leafs’ zone – as he was falling – with a pass from his knees that found William Nylander. Then Nylander, also falling on the play, dished off to Kadri, who promptly used the Calgary defender as a screen to beat Elliott and reach the century mark for his career.
At the 12:36 mark of the second period, Mark Giordano engaged in a punch-up with Leo Komarov after the Leafs winger crushed Johnny Gaudreau with a punishing, but clean bodycheck. No penalty was assessed to Komarov for the hit, a proper non-call by the officials in determining that the check was not predatory.
The Leafs started to pull away after Zach Hyman, displaying the same determination that has characterized his game, broke in on a shorthanded rush, depositing his own rebound to open up a 3-0 lead, much to the appreciative applause of the 19,043 fans at Air Canada Centre.
Kadri’s second of the game came on a Leafs power play in the third period, rounding out the scoring.
For Marner, his goal – coupled with his assist on Toronto’s fourth tally – vaulted him into the top spot on the Leafs’ scoring list with 39 points.
“We got our power play back on track, which is nice,” Marner said. “We really got a lot of scoring chances, which built a lot of confidence for us going into Detroit (the site of the team’s next game on Wednesday).”
Frederik Andersen made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season.