NEWS
01/23/2017 17:26 EST | Updated 01/24/2018 00:12 EST

Nazem Kadri matches career-high with two-goal effort as Leafs bury Flames 4-0

TORONTO — Nazem Kadri scored a pair of goals to match a career-high and Frederik Andersen pitched a 26-save shutout as the Toronto Maple Leafs ended a brief two-game winless streak with a 4-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday night.

Kadri equalled a career-best with 20 goals on the season by beating Brian Elliott twice, while Andersen captured his second shutout as a Leaf.

Rookies Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman also scored in the win for Toronto (22-14-9), which now sits third in the Atlantic division with 53 points.

Elliott gave up four goals on 28 shots, dropping his fourth consecutive start.

The Flames (24-23-3) have lost three in a row and five of the past six, just a point up on Vancouver for the final wild card spot out west.

It was Toronto that got the early jump, a late first-period tally from Marner. Martin Marincin's point shot initially bounced off Mikael Backlund before landing on the tape of Nikita Zaitsev, his shot tipped by the 19-year-old Marner in front.

It was the 11th goal of the season for Marner. He later added an assist to leap into first in the NHL's rookie scoring race, now with 39 points, one up on teammate Auston Matthews and two ahead of injured Winnipeg winger Patrik Laine.

Calgary, which beat Toronto 3-0 in late November, has surrendered the game's first goal in eight straight games.

Andersen, who's struggled some in January after a red-hot November and December, was sharp in the early going. He shut down a Flames shorthanded opportunity between Backlund and Michael Frolik, denying Backlund's attempt from the right side.

The Leafs had more shots (13-8) and chances though after 20 minutes, including a James van Riemsdyk wrap-around attempt that nearly slid under the right pad of Elliott shortly before Marner's game-opening goal. Video review initiated by the league confirmed that the puck hadn't crossed the goal-line.

van Riemsdyk was looking to extend a 10-game point streak during which he produced three goals and 14 points.

Toronto got two by Elliott, struggling all season-long for the Flames, in the second. The 31-year-old came into the Monday affair with the worst save percentage (.893) among NHL goaltenders with at least 20 starts this season.

Kadri got the first by him off the rush.

It started with Matthews, falling to the ice, and then slapping the puck out of the defensize zone. Fellow rookie William Nylander, also oddly down on the ice in the neutral zone, slid it over to Kadri who then whipped a shot through Flames defenceman Deryk Engelland and by the glove of Elliott.

It was the 100th career goal for Kadri.

Elliott, a product of Newmarket, Ont. managed to stop the first shot of a shorthanded opportunity for Hyman about 10 minutes later, but couldn't prevent the second attempt from squeaking through.

Hyman scored his first short-handed goal of the season two games earlier against the New York Rangers.

The action turned briefly testy between the two Canadian clubs a few minutes earlier, Flames star winger Johnny Gaudreau hit hard by Leafs winger Leo Komarov with Toronto shorthanded.

Komarov came up from behind Gaudreau in the Flames zone and delivered a shoulder to Gaudreau's midsection just after he moved the puck. The 23-year-old stayed down on the ice while the team's captain Mark Giordano pursued Komarov, the two both given minor penalties for roughing.

The Flames bench appeared irate that Komarov went unpenalized for hit, which didn't appear to violate rule 48 — defined as a hit "with an opponent's head where the head was the main point of contact."

Gaudreau went briefly to the team's dressing room before quickly returning.

Calgary, otherwise, pressed in the latter stages of the middle frame, but couldn't beat Andersen.

The Leafs were without their top defenceman Morgan Rielly for a third straight game, Zaitsev (two assists) and Jake Gardiner absorbing bigger minutes in his absence.

Kadri added his second of the night on an early third-period power play, his shot from the top of the left faceoff circle eluding Elliott. The goal was his 20th this season (in only 45 games), matching a career-high set in 78 games during the 2013-14 season.

The London, Ont., native had 17 goals in 76 games last season and 18 in 73 games one year earlier.