TORONTO — Morgan Rielly scored twice as the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs downed the New York Rangers 2-1 on Thursday to register their 10th victory in 11 games.
Jack Campbell made 27 saves for Toronto (12-5-1).
Dryden Hunt replied for New York (10-4-3). Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots.
The Rangers came in with four straight victories, and had earned points in eight of their last nine (6-2-1), but were unable to generate much of an attack until the third period.
The Leafs have now won five straight, and are 10-1-0 since a four-game slide.
Shesterkin, who was lights out in making 40 saves in New York’s 2-1 overtime victory at Scotiabank Arena on Oct. 18, made a nice blocker stop on Jason Spezza early in the first period off a turnover, but Toronto would push ahead moments later.
Rielly took a pass from Wayne Simmonds at the point and snapped a quick one-timer on Shesterkin with Michael Bunting providing a screen in front for the defenceman’s second goal of the season at 3:41.
Slow out of the gate, the Rangers started to get going as the period wore on, with Campbell stopping Filip Chytil at the lip of Toronto’s crease.
Auston Matthews tested Shesterkin on a couple of chances midway through the second before Campbell denied Julien Gauthier at the other end.
Toronto got its first power-play opportunity a few minutes later, and after Campbell snagged Kevin Rooney’s chance on a 2-on-1 break shorthanded, the Leafs connected on the man advantage for the 10th time their last 10 games.
Rielly took a pass at the left point and was given acres of space by New York’s penalty killers before toe-dragging around Rangers defenceman Jacob Trouba and firing his third — and third in four outings — at 10:59.
Campbell, who won his 50th NHL game two nights after making his 100th appearance, didn’t have a lot to do, but was sharp on an Artemi Panarin effort late in the period to keep the home side up 2-0 heading to the third.
Shesterkin made a nice stop of Leafs captain John Tavares early in the third to keep the deficit at one. Hunt then broke the shutout bid with his first at 3:30 when he banged home a loose puck after Kaapo Kakko’s initial shot went of linemate Ryan Strome in front.
The Rangers continued to push, forcing Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe to use his timeout in an attempt to steady his bench.
Panarin had another chance on a partial break eight minutes into the third, but Campbell was there to shut the door.
The Leafs came within centimetres of going up 3-1 with seven minutes to go only to have the puck cleared off Shesterkin’s goal line on a mad scramble.
The Rangers continued to push, but Campbell was there at every turn, including a big pad stop of Chris Kreider and a glove save on Trouba.
Notes: Rielly scored two goals in a game for the fourth time in his NHL career. … Strome is now at five games. … The Leafs host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday to wrap up a stretch of nine of 11 contests at Scotiabank Arena before visiting the New York Islanders on Sunday to kick off a four-game road trip. … Former Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson was in attendance.
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press