TORONTO -- After the Toronto Maple Leafs played a poor first period Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks, coach Randy Carlyle delivered a simple message.
"I told them to relax," said Carlyle, who coached the Ducks until two years ago. "They were tense, you could see it. Just relax. You can tell when you can't complete a 20-foot pass to someone who is wide open. That's when the frustration level starts to build."
After falling behind 2-0 early in the second period, the Maple Leafs came back. Led by Phil Kessel's three-goal performance, Toronto scored a 4-2 victory that snapped the Ducks' seven-game winning streak.
"We've got to come in after that first period and refocus," Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said. "We didn't do a good job of that. There's no point in getting too down; we won seven in a row."
Dion Phaneuf also scored for the Leafs, who ended a two-game losing streak with the victory before a crowd of 19,408 at Air Canada Centre.
"Those were serious goal-scorer goals," Phaneuf said of Kessel's game. "He didn't have a lot of room on two out of the three. He found a way to put the puck in the net. That's what he does, and that's why he's one of the top players in the league.
"It's a huge game for our team to come back from two goals down. We were strong on the penalty kill".
Nick Bonino and Mathieu Perreault scored for the Ducks, who lost for the first time since the season opener, Oct. 2 at Colorado.
Jonathan Bernier stopped 23 of 25 shots in the Leafs' goal. Jonas Hiller saved 19 of 23 shots for the Ducks (7-2-0).
Kessel's third goal of the game and fifth of the season came on a two-on-one breakout by the Leafs (7-3-0). James van Riemsdyk lugged the puck down the right wing and fed Kessel in front at 8:11 of the third period to give Toronto a two-goal lead. Several hats thrown from the seats littered the ice after the goal. Van Riemsdyk recorded his second assist of the game.
Kessel deflected praise.
"We played well defensively," he said.
Carlyle said, "Again, the thing with goal-scorers, they usually have to find a bounce that goes their way or an opportunity. Pure goal-scorers find ways to get pucks directed towards the net. ... These goals were scored from the tough area."
Van Riemsdyk missed on a penalty shot at 13:01 of the third.
Anaheim took a 2-0 lead at 1:59 of the second. After the Ducks kept the Leafs bottled up in their own end, Perreault took the puck from behind the goal and worked it out in front. His wrist shot of about 25 feet was his fourth goal of the season.
The Leafs came back with three goals before the second period ended.
"They're so fast, so skilled and we got away from our game and turned pucks over," Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "And they were able to come back at us and killed us in the second half of that game. They're deadly, they're a transition team. They have so much speed, and we fed pucks right into their system."
Kessel scored from the left edge of the goal on a power play at 7:44. Van Riemsdyk made the pass after Hiller stopped Cody Franson's shot. Phaneuf's second goal of the season, on a 30-foot wrist shot at 9:03, tied the game.
After the Leafs survived the Ducks' two-man advantage at the midway point of the period, Toronto took a 3-2 lead on Kessel's second goal of the game at 16:09 of the second. With van Riemsdyk lurking as a presence on the left wing, Kessel made some deft moves and feints on the right wing before beating Hiller with a wrist shot.
"Not doing anything on the five-on-three was really disappointing," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I didn't think our power play (0-for-4) was very good at all. We haven't used the power play to win a game this year, and tonight it cost us."
The Ducks opened the scoring at 17:38 of the first period on the fourth goal of the season by Bonino, who converted a goalmouth pass from Patrick Maroon. The play started with nifty outlet pass from the left side of the Anaheim defensive zone by Jakob Silfverberg, who found Maroon on the right wing. Maroon cut in toward the goal in the Leafs' zone before sliding the pass to Bonino, leaving Bernier no chance.
NOTES: It was the first meeting between the teams since Nov. 27, 2011, a 5-2 Leafs win at Honda Center. Three days later, Carlyle was fired as coach of the Ducks. Carlyle led the Ducks to a Stanley Cup championship in 2007. ... The 10-game suspension to Leafs RW David Clarkson ended with Tuesday's game. He left the bench to participate in a brawl during a preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres. ... Ducks RW Teemu Selanne, 43, played an NHL game at Toronto for the 20th time in his career. He was Carlyle's teammate with the 1992-93 Winnipeg Jets. ... Ducks LW Dustin Penner (upper body injury) did not play. ... Leafs LW Joffrey Lupul and RW Troy Bodie played for Carlyle at Anaheim. ... The Ducks play the second game of an eight-game trip Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens. ... The Maple Leafs visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Anaheim Ducks
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Phil Kessel
- Randy Carlyle