TORONTO (AP) — William Nylander tied it with 1:28 left in regulation and scored 1:06 into overtime to give the NHL-leading Toronto Maple Leafs a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
Nylander took a pass from Auston Matthews in the extra period and beat goalie David Rittich high for his seventh of the season.
“Nice to be able to score,” Nylander said. “Finally.”
The 24-year-old winger was recently called out on the front page of one of the city’s daily newspapers before getting benched in the third period of a 5-3 victory over Montreal on Saturday.
“It’s kind of always been around me,” Nylander said. “I know I’ve underperformed and I know I can do better. I’ve got levels to get to where I want to be.”
Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman said he wishes people on the outside got to see the work his much-maligned teammate puts in away from the fans and cameras.
“You don’t do the things he does away from the rink, and when people don’t watch, if you don’t care and you don’t love the game and you don’t want to get better, you don’t want to help your team win,” Hyman said. “He gets misunderstood a lot of the time. “Guys in the locker room know how much he cares and how much he wants to win.”
Michael Hutchinson stopped 21 shots in his second consecutive start with Frederik Andersen out with a lower-body ailment. Matthews had two assists to help Toronto split the two-game series and improve to 15-4-2.
Andrew Mangiapane scored for Calgary with 3:27 left in the third.
Rittich made 37 saves in his second straight start with Jacob Markstrom sidelined by an upper-body injury. He beat the Maple Leafs 3-0 on Monday night.
“Lots of positive things (with) what we did in those two games,” Rittich said. “That’s a good thing.”
Flames: At Ottawa on Thursday, Saturday and Monday nights in a four-game series that will end in Calgary on Thursday, March 4.
Maple Leafs: At Edmonton on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday nights.