TORONTO, IN – Pierre Engvall scored for the first time in 13 games, and his goal at 17:58 of the third period propelled the New York Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Returning to duty shortly after the excitement of the festivities surrounding the All-Star Game, the Leafs (25-15-8) never had the lead in this game and saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.
The Islanders (21-17-12) played a fifth game under Patrick Roy. His record is now 2-2-1 since his appointment. The Islanders have 54 points and are four behind the Leafs and Detroit Red Wings who share the tickets for the drafted teams in the East.
Mathew Barzal, who remained in the Queen City after participating in Saturday’s All-Star game, opened the scoring in the first period, jumping after Mike Reilly’s shot hit the post to the left of Ilya Samsonov. .
Mitch Marner responded early after the break, after just 50 seconds of play, but exactly two minutes later, rookie Kyle MacLean stood out with a successful breakaway goal.
MacLean’s first goal at Bettman, in his sixth game, was scored under the watchful eye of his father, former hockey player John MacLean, one of Roy’s assistants.
The man who played 1,194 NHL games and won the Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 1995 was seen with his arms raised and flashing a big smile as his son took down Samsonov with a clever backhand fake.
Toronto thought they were down one point in the standings when captain John Tavares deftly deflected a shot from Morgan Rielly during a power play at 15:12 of the final period.
But Engvall, a former Leafs player playing his first game at Scotiabank Arena since leaving for Long Island, decided otherwise.
Ilya Sorokin was particularly excellent in the third period. The Islanders’ star goalie totaled 34 saves.
This game also marked the debut of Benoit Desrosiers alongside Roy, who was officially hired after meeting the Islanders staff.
Desrosiers, 36, was Roy’s right-hand man at Quebec Remparts. He got his first opportunity to lead a QMJHL team this year, after being named at the helm for the Gatineau Olympics.
Tavares’ 14th goal of the season was his 441st in the NHL. He thus joined Rick Vaive and Steve Larmer, tied for 70th in history.