Leafs look to win rematch with Flames

NHL Hockey
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The Toronto Maple Leafs, who ended a three-game losing streak Tuesday, will be out for revenge against the visiting Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

The Maple Leafs, who defeated the visiting New Jersey Devils 7-4 on Tuesday,will be looking for payback after losing 4-2 to the Flames in Calgary on Dec. 12.

The Flames also have some extra motivation Thursday, after their five-game win streak was stopped Monday by a 2-0 road loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

“This is part of learning to win,” Flames interim coach Geoff Ward said. “You know, when the game is over, it’s over, and you have to get onto the next one. For whatever reason, we weren’t prepared to go (Monday night) from the drop of the puck. And as a result, we end up on the short end of the game.”

The Maple Leafs continued their trend of high-scoring games Tuesday, building a 6-1 lead before the Devils cut the margin to two in the third period.

When Auston Matthews slid the puck into an empty net at 18:40 of the third, he clinched the win and completed his second career hat trick. He has 34 goals in 47 games, including 27 in 23 home games.

“I thought we controlled the puck well,” Matthews said. I thought we got away from it a little bit in the second, kind of flipping it and trying to chase it more. I thought we did a good job when we had it in the third, and in the first. We were calming plays down, we were bringing it back, setting things up and coming as a unit, and I think when we do that, we’re a scary team and we’re hard to stop.”

The Maple Leafs also had two assists from 19-year-old defenseman Rasmus Sandin, who was playing in the NHL for the first time since October after being recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League on Monday. The assists came on tip-in goals off his shots from the point.

The Maple Leafs need help on the defense with Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin both out with foot fractures.

“The biggest thing about (Sandin’s) game is his poise,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said.

The Maple Leafs also recalled defenseman Timothy Liljegren from the Marlies on Tuesday, but he was a scratch for the game.

The Flames recalled 23-year-old defenseman Alexander Yelesin from Stockton of the AHL, but he was scratched from the game in Montreal.

Calgary goaltender David Rittich made 35 saves Monday after Cam Talbot had started the three previous games.

“He was tremendous for us (Monday),” Flames center Mikael Backlund said. “He kept us in the game in the first. It could have been a lot uglier than it was”

If he gets a chance to play Thursday, Flames center Mark Jankowski will be trying to end a dubious distinction. He has recorded the most appearances (37 games) and ice time (403 minutes) of any NHL forward without a goal this season. Jankowski did not play Monday.

“You don’t want to feel sorry for yourself,” Jankowski said. “You just have to come to the rink every day ready to work hard and do things right. And then it will reward you.”

The 25-year-old has one assist.

–Field Level Media

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