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Leafs end home ice drought against the Blues

Toronto defeated St. Louis, in regulation, on home ice for the first time since February 1998 while the Leafs still played at Maple Leaf Gardens.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

For the first time in nearly 18 years the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the St. Louis Blues on home ice in regulation on Saturday night.

Peter Holland’s sixth of the season at 3:15 of the third stood to be the game winner as the Leafs defeated the Blues 4-1.

The win was the Leafs first over the Blues at home in regulation since Feb. 4, 1998 while the team still played at Maple Leaf Gardens.

James van Riemsdyk tied the game 1-1 at 8:33 of the second with his eighth of the season as Toronto scored four unanswered to improve to 7-2-2 since defeating the Blues in St. Louis on Dec. 5.

Nazem Kadri and Michael Grabner had the other Leafs goals. With two assists in the win, Leo Komarov set a new single-season career-high with 27 points beating his previous mark (26) set last season.

“It’s definitely encouraging,” said Kadri. “I mean, that’s a real squad over there. They’re a good team and they’re hard to play against. You saw for 85 percent of the game there really wasn’t much to work with.

“It was clogged up and you just had to be patient and luckily it paid off.”

Jonathan Bernier made 39 saves to pick up his fifth win in his last seven starts. Bernier is 5-2-0 with a .916 save percentage and a 2.54 G.A.A. during the seven game stretch.

“That was a great game,” said Bernier, who improved to 5-10-3 on the season. “I thought both teams played their system, and we stuck with it and scored some big goals.”

Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring at 8:28 of the second period. When van Riemsdyk responded five seconds later, it set a new Leafs record for the fastest two goals by both teams beating the previous mark of seven seconds.

Blues’ forward Patrik Berglund made his regular season debut after missing the first 40 games recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Berglund finished with a minus-1 rating and two shots on goal in 13:37 of ice time.

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