Jeff O’Neill’s goal with 2:18 remaining gave the injury-riddled Leafs a 4-3 victory. They’d lost the previous three games and 10 of the previous 13.
Minnesota’s franchise-record road losing streak reached nine games. The Wild haven’t won an away game since a shootout in Nashville on Nov. 17. They are 4-13-1 on the road this season. Maybe the Wild have agoraphobia – fear of travel. Only Los Angeles and Phoenix have fewer points on opposition ice.
Mats Sundin, John Pohl and Alexander Steen also scored for the Leafs, while Kurtis Foster, Wes Walz and Brian Rolston scored for Minnesota.
Sundin’s goal was his 1,200th career point.
Andrew Raycroft made 17 saves to earn the goaltending win, while Manny Fernandez stopped 32 in a losing effort.
On the winning goal, Sundin won the faceoff and Bryan McCabe got off a long shot. Fernandez made the save, and O’Neill slammed in the rebound for his 12th goal of the season.
It was 1-1 after 20 minutes and 2-2 after 40.
Foster shot through a forest of legs to give Minnesota an early lead. The six-foot-five defenceman from Carp, Ont., got his second goal of the season at 2:53. Toronto-born Joel Ward, appearing in his fifth NHL game, got an assist for his first big-league point.
Sundin tied it on a power play when his intended pass from the corner to the right of Fernandez struck the goalie’s left leg and caromed into the net at 18:58 for his 15th goal. Mikko Koivu had been penalized for holding a stick.
Walz put the Wild up 2-1 at 11:47 of the second period. Hal Gill chased Branko Radivojevic behind the Leafs’ net and, when defence partner Ian White aimlessly circled back there, too, Walz was all alone in front of Raycroft to redirect in Radivojevic’s pass for his fourth goal of the season.
Pohl cashed in a penalty shot to make it 2-2 at 12:44. Brent Burns had knocked Pohl down from behind to set up the free shot. Pohl deked to his right forehand side, pulled the puck to his left and stuffed the puck with a backhand shot. It was the fifth goal for the American centre.
Steen put Toronto up 3-2 on a power play at 3:49 of the third period. Burns was in the penalty box. He hardly touched Bates Battaglia but was sent off for cross-checking. It was the cheapest penalty of the night. When a dump-in by White bounced into the crease, a kneeling Fernandez bobbled the puck and Steen stuffed it in for his third goal.
Ralston made it 3-3 on a power play at 9:32. Carlo Colaiacovo was off for interference. Todd White made a long pass to Ralston to the right of Raycroft, and Ralston redirected the puck in for his 17th goal.
Notes: On power plays, Toronto was 2-for-4 and Minnesota was 1-for-4 . . . Toronto’s next game is Friday at Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m. ET) . . . The Leafs were missing Mike Peca (broken leg), Kyle Wellwood (hip flexor), Alexei Ponikarovsky (shoulder) and Nikolai Antropov (ankle) . . . Wild star Marian Gaborik, out with a groin injury, has missed 29 of his team’s 36 games . . . Mats Sundin is two goals shy of Gilbert Perreault, who is 31st with 512, on the all-time goals list . . . In all-star fan balloting for defencemen, Buffalo’s Brian Campbell leads the way with 528,840 votes and is followed by Montreal’s Sheldon Souray, 484,192, Boston’s Zdeno Chara, 464,440, and Toronto’s Bryan McCabe, 446,569, and Tomas Kaberle, 416,736.