William Nylander’s second period snipe held up as the game-winner in the Leafs 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday.
Nylander, on a breakaway, registered his 20th goal of the season with an incredible wrist shot past Columbus netminder Joonas Korpisalo.
Toronto had sprung to a 2-0 lead after twenty minutes on goals by Leo Komarov and Auston Matthews, the latter with his 33rd marker of the campaign to come within one of Wendel Clark’s single season club record for a rookie, set in 1985-86.
However, the Blue Jackets fought back. David Savard one-time the puck past Frederik Andersen to get Columbus on the board. Brandon Saad tied the game with a deflection of a point shot from Zach Werenski, setting off the celebratory booms from the cannon at Nationwide Arena.
Nylander put the Leafs ahead to stay, moments later.
A bizarre incident occurred in the third period after Roman Polak was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding on Oliver Bjorkstrand. No Leafs player went to the penalty box for Polak and – even though the Leafs successfully killed the five minute penalty – there was no stoppage for an additional one minute, 54 seconds, all of which was played shorthanded by Toronto under league rules.
Coach Mike Babcock apologetically on the bench took responsibility for the error.
Nazem Kadri gave the Leafs an insurance goal late in the third period – his 30th of the year – and Nikita Zaitsev rounded out the scoring into an empty net.
The victory allowed Toronto surpass Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference standings.