Nylander scores twice as Maple Leafs beat Lightning 4-3
TORONTO (AP) The Toronto Maple Leafs put together the perfect response to a big rally by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
They got right back to work.
"We've found a rhythm and this is what we want to stick to," Nylander said.
The Maple Leafs jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but the Lightning tied the game on goals by Nikita Kucherov and Yanni Gourde 20 seconds apart in the third. Van Riemsdyk then put Toronto in front again when his shot just squeezed past Andrei Vasilevskiy's pad at 4:37.
"Everybody kind of just took a deep breath and went back to playing how we did in the first two periods," said Auston Matthews, who picked up three assists. "(We) took care of the puck a little more, (we) just got in deep and obviously a big goal by James there."
Jake Gardiner also scored for the Leafs (34-19-5), who extended their home win streak to five with their eighth win in nine games overall. Frederik Andersen made 28 saves in his 28th win of the season.
Toronto also pulled within six points of Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.
Alex Killorn also scored for Tampa Bay (38-15-3), and Vasilevskiy made 19 saves.
"We played well enough to get points out of this one, that's probably a little discouraging," Lightning coach John Cooper said. "I thought their goaltender got them points."
Toronto jumped in front 11:55 into the first on Nylander's one-timer off a pass from Matthews. It was Nylander's 13th goal of the season.
Nylander scored again 3:08 into the second, beating Vasilevskiy on the blocker side. Nylander then picked up an assist when Gardiner's wrist shot from inside the blue line went through Vasilevskiy's legs, making it 3-0 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the period.
NOTES: Toronto C Patrick Marleau skated in his 1,551st regular-season game, passing Alex Delvecchio for sole possession of 13th place on the NHL's games played list.
Lightning: Visit Buffalo on Tuesday night.
Maple Leafs: Host Columbus on Wednesday night.
Updated February 13, 2018