John Tavares had two goals with an assist and the Toronto Maple Leafs held on to beat the host Nashville Predators 3-2 on Sunday night.
Auston Matthews had two assists and Mitchell Marner added one to extend his point streak to 10 games for the Maple Leafs (44-20-9, 97 points), who finished off a 3-2-0 road stretch and sit second in the Atlantic Division. It was the fourth multi-point game in the last six for Tavares.
Leafs goalie Joseph Woll made 23 saves during his fourth start of the season, and his first since being recalled from the AHL while Ilya Samsonov is away for the birth of his child.
Cody Glass tipped in Tyson Barrie's power-play shot with 7:23 remaining to cut the deficit to 2-1 for Nashville (36-28-8, 80 points). Then, after Tavares' second power-play tally, Barrie scored with 1:42 to play to make things interesting.
However, the Predators couldn't build on that and dropped to 2-4-1 in the last seven to remain five points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Making matters worse for Nashville, star Matt Duchene exited early in the second period after taking a puck to the hand off a shot from teammate Dante Fabbro.
Toronto threw 10 shots on goal in the first period, and Nashville netminder Kevin Lankinen (31 total saves) was up to the task. However, the Maple Leafs converted with 1:54 remaining in the opening frame. On the power play, Matthews got the puck at the point and sent it near the net to Marner, who found Tavares camped out for his 31st goal.
Meanwhile, Woll stopped all 12 Nashville shots he faced through the first 20 minutes.
Toronto made it 2-0 just 1:02 into the second period. This time, Tavares was on the helping end, along with Justin Holl, in getting the puck to Alexander Kerfoot, who went over the top of Lankinen off an odd-man rush.
Both Woll and Lankinen continued to come up with key saves to keep the game close throughout the night.
--Field Level Media