Auston Matthews scored twice, Frederik Andersen earned his 100th NHL win and the Toronto Maple Leafs routed the New York Islanders 7-1 on Tuesday night in a game with playoff implications.
The Maple Leafs set a season high for goals and won for the third time in nine games. They moved three points ahead of the Islanders for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
New York fell to 10-4-2 in its past 16 games.
Matthews increased his rookie total to 27 goals and Andersen stopped 33 shots. Josh Leivo had a career-high three points with one goal and two assists for Toronto.
Nazem Kadri and William Nylander each had a goal and an assist. Tyler Bozak and Matt Hunwick also scored for the Maple Leafs.
Jason Chimera scored on a penalty shot for New York. Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube combined to give up seven goals on 41 shots.
After starting slow in their previous two games (both losses), the Maple Leafs decided to change up their routine and did not hold a morning skate Tuesday.
"We just thought it was the best thing for us," coach Mike Babcock said.
The switch spurred the desired result against the Islanders, as Toronto raced out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Leivo started the scoring just past the midway point of the period, ripping a shot from the top of the left circle past Greiss. The 23-year-old Leivo, who scored his first goal of the season, capitalized when a passing attempt by Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech went astray.
Kadri added to the lead with 32 seconds left in the period, the 26-year-old inadvertently deflecting Nikita Zaitsev's point shot into the empty cage behind Greiss. The goal was Kadri's first in the past 10 games and 21st of the season, setting a career high.
New York, which won the first two meetings between the teams this season (including 6-5 in overtime a week earlier), had its share of decent opportunities early on, twice hitting posts on shots from Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey.
Toronto made it 3-0 midway through the second when Kadri fired a puck on goal from along the wall as he rushed down the left side. Greiss made a stick save, but shuffled it right to Nylander crashing the net. The puck bounced off the right knee of the 20-year-old Swede for his 15th goal this season, tied with Mitch Marner for second among Maple Leafs rookies behind Matthews.
From there, Andersen took over.
With the Maple Leafs short-handed, the 27-year-old shut down John Tavares and then Bailey moments later. After a 3-on-1 for Toronto came up empty, Andersen denied Chimera on a breakaway.
Matt Hunwick was penalized on the play, however, deemed to have stymied Chimera's progress. The veteran forward was awarded a penalty shot and he beat Andersen high to the blocker side to cut Toronto's lead to 3-1.
Andersen had been sitting on 99 wins for almost two weeks, his last victory coming on Feb. 4. He's scuffled in the new year, entering the night with an .893 save percentage in 16 starts since Jan. 1.
Matthews increased Toronto's lead back to three early in the third period, flipping a backhand rebound past Greiss on the power play. The 19-year-old added another goal a short while, depositing Connor Brown's feed from behind the net.
NOTES: Matthews leads NHL rookies in goals and is three behind Sidney Crosby for the overall lead. ... Leivo got his chance to play with rookie forward Nikita Soshnikov sidelined.
Islanders: Host the rival New York Rangers on Thursday night.
Maple Leafs: Head to Columbus on Wednesday to complete their 13th back-to-back set of the season. The club is 9-2-2 on the first night and 4-7-1 on the second.