TORONTO (AP) - After losing four straight on the road, the Toronto Maple Leafs got back on the winning track at home - where they haven’t lost in nearly seven weeks.
Nazem Kadri scored twice and the Maple Leafs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 Saturday night for their franchise-record 10th straight home win.
“Well you want to be real good at home and obviously you want to be real good on the road,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. “Obviously, I don’t know why, sometimes it goes better that way.
I don’t have all those answers. … But obviously you want to be comfortable in your building.”
Kasperi Kapanen, Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau also scored for Toronto, which hasn’t lost at home since Jan. 22 against Colorado. Frederik Andersen - appearing in his 57th game this season - stopped 38 shots.
“It’s great,” said Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly, who matched a career high with three assists. “We love playing at home.”
Toronto topped its previous record of nine straight home wins set from Nov. 11 to Dec. 26, 1953, and matched from March 6 to April 7, 2007.
Sidney Crosby and Patrick Hornqvist scored for the Penguins, who had won three straight and nine of their last 12. Earlier in the day, Washington moved past Pittsburgh into first place in the Metropolitan Division.
“They got a couple of quality chances and they finished,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “They were opportunistic early in the game. I thought we had a good start, we were controlling territory, we were controlling momentum.
“We had opportunities to score. We couldn’t seem to finish tonight. We pushed at the end, but obviously a four-goal deficit is tough.”
Andersen had a shutout going until Crosby got his 23rd of the season with 3:36 remaining with a backhander that went in off Toronto defenseman Ron Hainsey’s stick to make it 4-1. It was Crosby’s 26th career goal and 57th point against the Maple Leafs.
Hornqvist then tipped Evgeni Malkin’s shot from the point with 2:28 to go. Malking got his 40th assist and 59th point against Toronto.
Marleau added an empty-netter with 58 seconds left to close the scoring.
The Maple Leafs, who had won 13 of 15 games before their four-game road slide, led 3-0 on nine shots midway through the game.
Toronto looked sluggish to start. Pittsburgh bottled the Leafs up in their end and outshot them 6-0 in the first four minutes. It took Toronto 5 1/2 minutes to register a shot on goal and that was a clearance during a penalty kill.
Toronto went ahead at 9:10 on a pretty goal by Kapanen that started with a no-look pass from Josh Leivo from behind the goal to Tyler Bozak. He slid the puck over to Kapanen, who buried it.
Kadri made it 2-0, tipping in Morgan Rielly’s shot with 47 seconds remaining in the period.
The Leafs didn’t put a shot on goal for the first 11 minutes of the second period but took advantage of the power play at 11:35. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry stopped Marner’s shot from the point but gave up a rebound that went straight to Kadri for his second.
Kadri now has 26 goals on the season, an amazing turnaround for a player who went 0-for-December. His Jan. 4 goal against San Jose ended a 12-game scoring slump dating back to Nov. 30. The 27-year-old center, who had a career-high 32 goals in 82 games last season, notched his sixth multi-goal game of the campaign.
Brian Dumoulin’s goal for Pittsburgh with two minutes left in the second was waved off for goalie interference as the Penguins’ defenseman, who was pushed into the crease by Hainsey, caught Andersen’s head with his arm as he went across goal before stuffing the puck in.
Marner scored on a deflected shot from the blue line on the ensuing power play, rubbing salt in the wound. It was his 19th of the season, matching his rookie total last year.
Jarry, who had won his last three starts, gave up four goals on 16 shots through two periods before giving way to Casey DeSmith, to start the third.
NOTES: Toronto won for the second time in six games without star C Auston Matthews, who injured his shoulder in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Islanders on Feb. 22. … The Leafs were also without D Nikita Zaitsev (flu). … Kadri and Matthews are the first two Leafs centers to score 25 goals in consecutive seasons since Darryl Sittler and Dave Keon in 1972-1973 and 1973-1974. … The highlight of an uneventful third period barring the late goals was the announcement that the bumper 50-50 draw winner was some $50,000 richer. … Josh Jooris, acquired from Carolina at the trading deadline, made his Pittsburgh debut. With Bryan Rust (upper body) and Dominik Simon (lower body) hurt in the Philadelphia game, Jooris slotted into the Penguins’ fourth line alongside Carter Rowney, who had been a healthy scratch recently. … The game was James van Riemsdyk’s 400th with Toronto.
Penguins: Host Dallas on Sunday night.
Maple Leafs: Host Dallas on Wednesday night.
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