By Frank McLean
Frederik Andersen made 28 saves for his fourth shutout of the year as the Maple Leafs returned from the All-Star Break by blanking the New York Islanders 5-0 for their third straight win Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre.
Normally a shutout win would be the big story of the game, however Andersen was upstaged by a pair of Toronto Marlies call ups who each scored their first NHL goals: Travis Dermott and Justin Holl.
Dermott’s goal came with 1:01 left in the second period when he was parked in the slot in front of Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss where he tipped in a pass from William Nylander. The goal extended the Leafs’ lead to 4-0 after 40 minutes.
Holl’s goal came 3:42 into the third – a weak goal for Griess to surrender – to round out the scoring. For Holl Wednesday’s game was his first NHL game. The defenceman had just returned from the AHL All-Star Game and he thought he was going to have the day off.
Assistant GM Kyle Dubas told Holl there was a chance he might have to fill in for an ill Ron Hanisey. Dubas informed Holl of his spot in the lineup – and subsequent NHL debut – at 4:30, three hours before puck drop.
Kasperi Kapinen (3rd goal of the season), Auston Matthews (23rd and Mitch Marner (8th) also scored for the Leafs. Matthews also picked up an assist on the Holl goal.
The Leafs peppered 50 shots on Greiss who made some outstanding saves to keep the score from being worse than it was.
The Leafs start a brief two game roadtrip Thursday night in New York City to face the Rangers and then face the Bruins Saturday in Boston before they start a five game homestand Monday night against the Anaheim Ducks.