TORONTO (AP) — Auston Matthews had three goals and an assist, and the Toronto Maple Leafs scored four times in the third period to rally to a 6-4 win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.
Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists, Ilya Mikheyev had a goal and an assist, and Jason Spezza also scored to help the Maple Leafs win their fourth straight. Jack Campbell started and gave up three goals on nine shots before he was pulled midway through the first period. Petr Mrazek had 19 saves the rest of the way.
“Jack hasn’t played to the same level he established for himself,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “But neither has the team in front of him. That’s on us. That’s not nearly enough. We’ve got a guy who battled for us and has been the backbone of this team.”
Campbell’s play earned him a trip to the NHL All-Star game in Las Vegas this weekend. But he has given up 16 goals in his last nine-plus periods.
“Our start wasn’t very good,” said Matthews, who now has 28 goals in 38 games. “We weren’t ready from the start. … Soup (Campbell) didn’t play bad. We just gave them some Grade-A chances.”
Jesper Boquist had a goal and an assist for New Jersey, and Pavel Zacha, Andreas Johnsson and Nathan Bastian also scored. Akira Schmid had 27 saves as the Devils lost their fifth straight.
New Jersey had three two-goal leads and was up 4-2 after two periods.
“We put ourselves in good position to win the game against a good team and came up short in the end,” Devils assistant coach Alain Nasreddine said. “Gave them too many opportunities there in the end and they made us pay.”
The Maple Leafs trailed 4-2 after 40 minutes before Spezza lifted a shot high into the top of the net 4:16 into the third.
Marner then tied it with 6 1/2 minutes left off a faceoff thanks to some hustle from teammate Michael Bunting, who retrieved a loose puck after Matthews lost the draw. He fed it back to Matthews, who found Marner in front for his sixth goal in a personal best six straight games.
Mikheyev put Toronto ahead 5-4 with a short-handed goal on a rush with Alex Kerfoot with 3:04 remaining, and Matthews completed his fifth career hat trick with an empty-netter in the final minute.
“We just did what we do best in the third period,” Marner said.
The win came two days after the Maple Leafs overcame a two-goal, third-period deficit in Detroit to beat the Red Wings. It also denied the 21-year-old Schmid his first career win.
“We had a good plan going into the third and I don’t think we executed it,” Zacha said. “We let them have chances net-front. … We have to learn from it. That’s a tough loss to have but thankfully we have a rematch tomorrow.”
The Devils got off to a fast start as Zacha scored just 47 seconds into the game, and Boqvist made it 2-0 at 6:20.
Matthews’ first of the night 13 seconds later pulled the Maple Leafs within one.
After Johnsson restored New Jersey’s two-goal lead at 9:10, Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe called a timeout to scold his players and lift Campbell in favor of Mrazek.
Matthews got Toronto back within one on a tip-in with just under five minutes remaining in the opening period.
Bastian pushed the Devils’ lead to 4-2 at 7:33 of the second.
New Jersey was without veteran head coach Lindy Ruff, who left the team to be with his family back in Warburg, Alberta, after the death of his 88-year-old father, Leeson.
The teams conclude a home-and-set in New Jersey on Tuesday night before the All-Star break.