The Leafs had been booed off the ice at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night after a 4-1 loss to the struggling Colorado Avalanche. The two quick goals late in the second period had a home crowd booing the Blue Jackets.
Bryan McCabe and John Pohl also scored and Andrew Raycroft had 23 saves for Toronto, which had given up 14 goals in its last three games.
Manny Malhotra and Alexander Svitov scored for the Blue Jackets, who had played only one game in the previous 10 days. The game was just the fifth this season for Columbus, the fewest in the NHL. Every other team has played at least two more games and five teams have played three more.
With the score tied 1-1 and the Maple Leafs on the power play, Darcy Tucker’s blind backhand pass from the right doorstep set up Wellwood for the goal.
Wellwood, who also had an assist, has two goals and eight assists in his last seven games. Tucker has five goals and three assists over the same span.
Before that goal could even be announced, the Leafs struck again. Alexander Steen dug the puck out of the right corner and whisked a centring pass to Peca in the slot.
Each team failed on three power plays in the opening period. Tomas Kaberle’s short-handed three-on-one drive from the left wing was deflected wide by goalie Pascal Leclaire to ruin the Leafs’ best scoring chance, and the Blue Jackets’ Rick Nash failed to convert on a loose puck in the slot midway through the period.
Nash went down late in the game and was helped off the ice, but returned to the bench.
Leafs captain Mats Sundin set up the first score. From behind the net, Sundin’s centring pass went off the skate of a defenceman to McCabe for a hard shot from the top of the right circle.
Columbus pulled even less than three minutes later with Jason Chimera skating left to right behind Raycroft, shedding defenceman Ian White at the boards and then throwing the puck through the crease. Malhotra had an almost open net for his second goal of the season.
Notes: RW Ben Ondrus, who had missed the first seven games with a bruised knee, made his season debut for Toronto. … It was the first meeting between the teams in Columbus since March 20, 2003, a 4-3 Blue Jackets’ win in OT behind Tyler Wright’s hat trick. … Maple Leafs C Jeff O’Neill was inadvertently tripped by a teammate and rammed his knee into the boards late in the first period. He was helped off the ice, but returned. … RW David Vyborny played his 400th game for Columbus.