CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Tyler Ennis made a return to his home province a night to remember.
Ennis recorded his first career hat trick to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday night.
“I played a lot of games here,” said Ennis, who played four years of junior hockey in Medicine Hat. “Had some rivalries with the (Calgary) Hitmen over the years. I’m familiar with this rink. To get a hat trick in it with my parents watching playing for the Leafs is a real special night for me.”
Zach Hyman had two goals for Toronto. Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists, giving him 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the last four games.
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Matthew Tkachuk and Derek Ryan scored for Calgary, which has dropped two in a row after a seven-game winning streak. The Flames’ lead atop the Pacific Division remained three points over San Jose.
Ennis, who was scratched in Toronto’s previous game, opened the scoring 9:50 into the first on a power play. He got the puck skating through the low slot and sent a backhand shot into the top corner.
After scoring again late in the first on a carom, Ennis completed his big night by sending a shot from the side boards that slipped past David Rittich for his 12th goal. The fans littered the ice with over 100 hats.
“We’re so lucky to have this fan base. To have that many hats on the ice in an away arena is very special. It was just a great night,” Ennis said.
The Leafs moved within one point of second-place Boston in the Atlantic Division.
Frederik Andersen made 35 saves and won his fifth straight, improving to 32-13-3.
Rittich had 26 stops and slipped to 22-6-5. It was Rittich’s second regulation loss since mid-December. He entered the game 11-1-4 in his last 16 games.
Andersen was excellent in the second period, drawing chants of “Freddy, Freddy” from the crowd.
“It was pretty special. Another example of how great fans of Toronto are,” Andersen said. “They travel well and come with us on the road, too. It’s pretty cool. It’s always special to have that.”
Early in the second, he snapped Mikael Backlund’s shot from close range. Late in the period, he stopped a shot off the stick of Johnny Gaudreau.
Andersen’s blocker save off Austin Czarnik on a breakaway preserved the Leafs’ 1-0 lead. Toronto struck twice immediately after.
Ennis’ second, making it 2-0 at 17:15, was a fluke as his shot hit the skate of Rasmus Andersson in the slot and tumbled high in the air, eventually going over Rittich’s shoulder and landing in the net.
At 18:51, Backlund’s giveaway in the offensive zone enabled Marner to race away on a breakaway. Rittich stopped the initial shot, but the rebound went in off Hyman’s skate.
Toronto made it 4-0 at 4:11 of the second when Marner neatly set up Hyman’s second goal of the game.
Calgary got on the scoreboard late in the second, needing just 10 seconds to convert their first power play of the night. Gaudreau’s wraparound bounced around the crease and crossed the line.
“They got a lucky bounce on the second one and chasing the game against them is tough, man. They have a lot of skill over there and they make you pay for little mistakes,” said Calgary captain Mark Giordano.
But there’s no panic in the Flames room yet.
“We’re still in a good spot. There’s no need to start freaking out or anything, we’re still first in the West,” Tkachuk said. “We’re fine. We just need to go out and take care of business on this road trip.”
NOTES: Ennis took the spot of Nic Petan, who scored a goal in his first game after being acquired from the Winnipeg Jets. … Defenseman Oliver Kylington (lower body) returned to the Flames’ lineup after missing three games.
Maple Leafs: Continue three-game Western Canada trip in Vancouver on Wednesday.
Flames: At Vegas on Wednesday.
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