Devils hold off slumping LeafsMar 24, 2014 - 4:43 AM
Patrik Elias, Jon Merrill and Damien Brunner each scored for the Devils, who snapped a six-game losing streak against Toronto. Cory Schneider earned the win with 21 saves.
Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak supplied the goals for a Maple Leafs team riding an untimely skid. Toronto matched a season high with its fifth consecutive loss.
"We have to come together as a team and battle," Bozak said.
The Devils now have 75 points, five fewer than Toronto, which holds the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Kessel scored with 1:31 remaining in the third period and the Toronto net empty, closing the gap to 3-2.
The Maple Leafs couldn't complete the comeback and suffered their first loss to the Devils since Feb. 21, 2012.
"You knew they'd get a push back and get their chances, but we hung on there," Schneider said.
Brunner snapped a shot from the right circle on a 2-on-1 rush and beat James Reimer glove-side to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead at 14:38 of the first period.
Merrill assisted on Elias' goal before scoring 32 seconds later to trigger a Toronto goalie change early in the second period.
Merrill sent a stretch pass from the New Jersey zone that Elias gathered at the Toronto blue line. The veteran forward slipped a backhander in after faking a slap shot at 1:18.
The Devils went up 3-0 when Merrill jumped on a loose puck and fired a slapper from near the top of the left circle that squeezed through Reimer at 1:50.
Drew MacIntyre, a 30-year-old journeyman, relieved Reimer, who stopped only seven shots in his fifth straight start with Jonathan Bernier sidelined with a groin injury.
Bozak put Toronto on the board at 5:26 of the middle stanza, tipping in Morgan Rielly's pass from the point for a power-play goal.
The Maple Leafs had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:17 later in the second and failed to convert.
MacIntyre made 14 saves in his fifth NHL appearance and first since Nov. 25, 2011.
The Devils are 2-2-0 on a five-game homestand that concludes Thursday against Phoenix ... Toronto also lost five straight from Nov. 25-Dec. 3.
- TORONTO: 2
NEW JERSEY: 3
Mar 23 9:38 PM
- TORONTO: 1
NEW JERSEY: 3
End of 2nd
Mar 23 8:42 PM
- Toronto Power-Play Goal - Tyler Bozak (17), at 5:26.
Maple Leafs 1, Devils 3 2nd - 14:34Mar 23 8:12 PM
- New Jersey Goal - Jon Merrill (2), at 1:50.
Maple Leafs 0, Devils 3 2nd - 18:10Mar 23 8:07 PM
- New Jersey Goal - Patrik Elias, at 1:18.
Maple Leafs 0, Devils 2 2nd - 18:42Mar 23 8:07 PM
- TORONTO: 0
NEW JERSEY: 1
End of 1st
Mar 23 7:50 PM
- New Jersey Goal - Damien Brunner (11), at 14:38.
Maple Leafs 0, Devils 1 1st - 5:22Mar 23 7:36 PM
- TORONTO: 0
NEW JERSEY: 0
1st Period - 20:00
Mar 23 7:08 PM
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- Maple Leafs sign Kadri, Rielly to 6-year deals Apr 13
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