Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen was more than full measure in taking first star honours in the Leafs’ thrilling 3-2 shootout win over Nashville on Wednesday.
Andersen was the difference between a regulation loss, and a victory.
He made 15 saves in the third period alone, none bigger than on a wraparound attempt by Ryan Johansen in the final minute of regulation. Overall, Andersen made 44 saves on 46 Predators shots.
James van Riemsdyk scored once in regulation and the game winner in the seven-round shootout. He had scored his 21st goal of the season to open the scoring in the game at 16:06 of the first period.
Kasperi Kapanen dazzled the Air Canada Centre crowd with a beauty of a shorthanded marker, at 9:38 of the second to make it 2-0 for the Maple Leafs. Kapanen took advantage of a bad pinch by PK Subban, then sprinted towards the Nashville goal on a partial breakaway, then spun the other away to separate himself from backchecker Craig Smith before completing a full 360-degree turn, firing the puck past Pekka Rinne.
Colton Sissons put Nashville on the board with 1:50 left in the period with his sixth of the season, picking up a loose rebound that glanced off van Riemsdyk’s helmet.
The Predators tied the game 25 seconds into the third when Victor Arvidsson scores his 18th of the year unassisted, capitalizing on a Nikita Zaitsev turnover.
Nasvhille dominated much of the possession throughout the game, but Andersen was simply sensational, particularly on the last-minute game-saving stop on Johansen.
The win for the Maple Leafs was their second in a row on their current five-game homestand which continues Saturday night with another chapter of the Battle of Ontario against the Ottawa Senators.