Toronto took top spot in the Northeast division with a 5-2 victory over Anaheim on Sunday that sent the Ducks to their longest losing streak in six years.
Tyler Bozak scored twice as the Maple Leafs added to Anaheim’s misery by handing the Ducks their seventh loss in a row and their 13th in 14 games.
Anaheim (6-13-4) have not endured a stretch this bad since 2005 when they lost eight in a row. Toronto (14-8-2) notched a third consecutive win to move a point ahead of Boston for the division lead and finished their four-game road trip 3-1.
“Obviously it’s a big trip for us, and it’s nice to have three big wins,” Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul told reporters after finishing with two assists against his former team. “It’s been a lot of travel, kind of all the way down the south coast swing. We were strong all the way through the third period, so that’s a good sign.”
After Anaheim took a 1-0 lead in the first period through Francois Beauchemin, Toronto fired back with four unanswered goals, Bozak and Clarke MacArthur converting before the end of the first.
Joey Crabb’s tip-in early in the second period put the Maple Leafs up 3-1 and Bozak added his second of the game less than a minute into the third.
Corey Perry pulled one back for Anaheim with his 10th goal of the season before Luke Schenn iced Toronto’s win with an empty-netter with 12 seconds left.
Toronto netminder Jonas Gustavsson made 26 saves.
The Ducks are one defeat away from equaling their franchise -record for consecutive losses.
“I don’t even know what we can say anymore,” Anaheim defenseman Sheldon Brookbank told reporters. “It’s an embarrassing time for us and no one is playing to our potential. It’s a miserable feeling right now.”
FLAMES 5, WILD 2
In St Paul, Minnesota, Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla had third-period goals to pad Calgary’s lead and help stop a three-game losing streak for the Flames with a 5-2 win on Sunday over the Minnesota Wild.
Matt Giordano, Lee Stempniak and T.J. Brodie scored during a furious first period, and Mikka Kiprusoff steadied himself after the early barrage to make 19 saves for the Flames. He improved to 26-15-5 in his career against the Wild.
Cal Clutterbuck and Nick Johnson had goals in those first nine minutes for the Wild, but goalie Niklas Backstrom was pulled for Josh Harding after the Flames took a 3-2 lead.
Backstrom was in the net for the first time in four games — he was tending to a personal matter this week — and was yanked from a home game for the first time in nearly two years.
SENATORS 4, HURRICANES 3
In Ottawa, Jason Spezza scored twice, including his 200th regular-season goal, and David Runblad got his first NHL goal to lead Ottawa past Carolina.
Spezza reached the milestone with his second goal of the game on a power play late in the first period. His first tally 55 seconds in ended a personal 11-game goal drought.
Zack Smith also scored and Craig Anderson made 34 saves for Ottawa, which are on a 4-1-1 run.
Eric Staal and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored in the third as Carolina twice closed to within one. Patrick Dwyer also had a goal for the Hurricanes and Cam Ward made 21 saves.
BLUES 2, BLUE JACKETS 1
In Columbus, Ohio, David Backes scored in the third period to lift St Louis to the win over Columbus in coach Ken Hitchcock’s first game against his former club.