TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs big 7-4 rout of the Anaheim Ducks came at a cost: starting goaltender Frederik Andersen left the game early with an undisclosed injury.
Andersen left the game at the 6:15 mark of the second period after he was struck in the head by the skate of Anaheim's Corey Perry on Monday night. Andersen made 25 saves on 28 shots before being replaced by backup Curtis McElhinney, who improved to 6-4 this season with 16 saves on 17 shots.
"I think he's fine I was just talking to him," Leafs coach Mike Babcock said of Andersen following the game. "We'll see what goes on tomorrow."
The Leafs provided no further update on Andersen's status and he was not made available to media.
Andersen's goaltending this season has helped Toronto hold down a playoff berth for most of the season. With a 25-15-4 record along with a .921 save percentage this season, a lengthy absence by Andersen could potentially diminish the 17-point cushion they currently hold over their divisional rivals, the Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings, and the Montreal Canadiens.
"I didn't think I hit him on the original play, but obviously I did," Perry said of the incident. "I tried to move away."
William Nylander and Auston Matthews led Toronto's (31-20-5) offence with two goals and an assist each. Mitch Marner, Leo Komarov and Zach Hyman, into an empty net, also chipped in. Nylander scored the second of his two goals while on a breakaway. His wrist shot beat Ryan Miller at 3:28 of the third period and was the eventual winner.
The high-scoring affair was redemption for a Leafs team that struggled against the Boston Bruins on Saturday in what could have been a potential first-round playoff preview. The line of Nylander, Matthews and Hyman combined for five goals and three assists.
"Our line wasn't happy with our performance last Saturday, so it was a good start for us," Matthews said.
The Leafs opened the scoring in the first period when Matthews skated to Anaheim's net unabated. He then wrapped the puck around the goal past Ducks goaltender Miller at 6:32.
The Ducks (25-19-10) responded early in the second period. Rickard Rakell centred a pass to Ryan Getzlaf in front of the net. Getzlaf's shot beat Andersen 43 seconds into the period.
Nylander and Rakell traded goals for their respective teams before Ondrej Kase scored at 8:23 while on the power play to give Anaheim a 3-2 lead.
Toronto responded with a power-play goal of its own. Marner's snap shot put Toronto level with Anaheim 3-3 at 15:28.
Komarov also scored in the second when he tipped Jake Gardiner's shot past Miller to give Toronto at 4-3 lead at 17:40.
Rakell scored his second goal of the game in the third period when he found an opening above McElhinney's glove at 2:07 to tie the game 4-4.
Matthews scored his second goal of the game at 16:49. Hyman added an empty-net goal at 19:06.
Matthews leads the Leafs with 25 goals this season.
The Leafs' high-flying offence proved too much for a Ducks team that couldn't contain Toronto's young stars.
"We made some mistakes defensively where we gave them breakaways," Getzlaf said, "those are breakdowns that we just can't have, those are the things we are doing that are hurting us."
Perry assisted on all four Anaheim goals.
Note: The Maple Leafs loaned defenceman Andreas Borgman to the Toronto Marlies, their minor-league affiliate, hours before puck drop. The rookie earned a spot out of training camp and has been on the Leafs roster until Monday. He recorded three goals and eight assists in 11 games.