TORONTO — Mitch Marner had the shootout winner to lead the Maple Leafs past the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 on Monday night after Toronto blew a two-goal lead.
Marner was the first skater in the shootout and skated out wide to the left before cutting in toward the net, forcing Vegas goalie Maxime Lagace to commit with a deke before tucking the puck past him.
Nazem Kadri had a pair of goals in regulation time for Toronto (9-7) and James van Riemsdyk also scored as the Maple Leafs built a 3-1 lead by the first intermission.
Frederik Andersen made 22 saves and stopped three skaters in the shootout.
Deryk Engelland's third-period goal forced overtime for Vegas (9-5), while James Neal and Reilly Smith also found the back of the net. Lagace turned aside 25 shots.
The win was a much-needed boost for a Maple Leafs team that had dropped back-to-back games and lost six of their past 10 after starting the year with a 7-1 record.
Before the game, Kadri was confident that Toronto was capable of better than its recent record.
"Sense of urgency? Absolutely. Sense of panic? Not so much," Kadri told reporters in the Maple Leafs locker-room. "I think we understand that we're a good hockey team and we know that we're going to get back on track it's just a matter of doing it."
Kadri backed up his words 4:14 into the first period on a power play. A long shot in by Morgan Rielly rebounded off Lagace and Kadri snapped it in from the slot, with van Riemsdyk serving as a screen right on the crease.
Less than a minute later Vegas replied with a fluky goal. A long shot in deflected off the skate of Neal as he tussled with a Leafs defender and bounced in past Andersen to tie it 1-1.
Van Riemsdyk restored Toronto's lead on the power play near the midway point of the first, but Auston Matthews did all the heavy lifting on the play.
Carrying the puck down the right wing, Matthews spun around Vegas defenceman Luca Sbisa and drove to the net, getting a shot on Lagace. The rebound came to van Riemsdyk's stick and he made it 2-1.
Matthews had left the morning skate early with what Leafs head coach Mike Babcock described as "soreness."
Kadri scored his second of the night with 4:57 left in the opening period. Standing in the slot with his back to the net, he took a cross-ice feed from Patrick Marleau, put the puck on his backhand and shot it past Lagace as he fell to his knees.
The pace of the game slowed down in the second, with Toronto having to kill a lengthy two-man advantage starting with a too many men on the ice penalty 12 minutes into the period. Zach Hyman took another penalty 48 seconds later when he was called for goaltender interference after he ran into Lagace on a short-handed breakaway. The Maple Leafs argued that he had been taken down by a Vegas defender and shouldn't be penalized but to no avail.
Although Toronto kept the Golden Knights scoreless for those overlapping power plays, they couldn't hold them off later in the period with Matthews off for tripping. Smith cut into the Leafs' lead with just over a minute to go in the second period, rifling in a rebound on the power play.
Engelland tied it 3-3 for Vegas 6:16 into the third period, wiring a wrist shot into the far corner of the net over Andersen's shoulder and force the extra period.
Notes: Announced attendance was 19,398. .... Toronto FC players Alex Bono and Jay Chapman were in the crowd a day after the Major League Soccer club advanced to the Eastern Conference final. ... It was the first time in history Vegas and Toronto played each other since the Golden Knights officially joined the NHL on March 1.
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