By Neil Becker
For some unknown reason, the St. Louis Blues seem to dominate whenever they come to Toronto.
The Leafs, who two nights earlier were coming off a 4-1 win at Scotiabank Arena against the Pittsburgh Penguins, couldn’t build off that momentum.
Hosting the Blues for a Saturday night showdown, Toronto surrendered three third period goals which was the eventual turning point in what was a 6-3 loss. The Leafs, who have now lost three of their past five games have since April 1, 1998, dropped to 1-14-2 in their last 17 games at home against the Blues.
The last time these two teams met was at the Enterprise Center in mid-January when the Leafs emerged with a momentum-swinging 6-5 win.
This time around the Leafs managed to outshoot St. Louis by a 37-34 count, and were able to overcome an early 2-0 deficit but couldn’t get the two- points.
On a night where Leafs forward Auston Matthew’s nine-game point streak was snapped, St. Louis got consecutive first period goals from Pavel Buchnevich with his 17th and first of two at the 2:58 mark followed by Klim Kostin who with a little over eight minutes left in the first doubled the lead with his fourth of the year.
A great sign for Leafs management and fans alike was the emergence of William Nylander. This skilled forward, who had scored only twice since New Years Day, had a two-goal performance against the Blues with his first coming at the 15:33 mark of the first followed by his 18th goal, which came just over five minutes into the second.
Showing strong resiliency, St. Louis regained the lead 29 seconds later when veteran forward Brayden Schenn celebrated his 14th goal which once again had the Blues leading only this time by a slim 3-2 lead. That lead disappeared when with less than three minutes remaining in the second, Leafs defenceman T.J. Brodie scored his fourth on a slap-shot from the point.
Both teams were tied 3-3 in the third when just about five minutes into the third, Blues veteran forward Brandon Saad scored his 200th career goal and the eventual game-winner. St. Louis made a statement against the Leafs by finishing strong with two more goals from Ryan O’Reilly and Buchnevich with his second and 18th of the season into an open net.
Toronto will try to find that winning mojo on Monday night when they face-off at 7 p.m. at the Bell Centre against their Original Six rival the Montreal Canadiens.
1st Period STL. – TOR
2:58 Pavel Buchnevich (17) 1 – 0
Jordan Kyrou (26), Robert Thomas (31)
11:40 Klim Kostin (4) 2 – 0
Tyler Bozak (7), Jake Walman (3)
15:33 William Nyalnder (18) 2 – 1
Alex Kerfoot (26), John Tavares (29)
2nd. Period STL – TOR
5:30 William Nylander (19) 2 – 2
Alex Kerfoot (27) Justin Holl)
5:59 Brayden Schenn (14) 3 – 2
Justin Faulk (17), Oscar Sundqvist (10)
17:44 T.J. Brodie (4), 3 – 3
David Kampf (10), Ondrej Kase (10)
3rd Period STL- TOR
4:38 Brandon Saad (16) 4 – 3
David Perron (14), Colton Parayko (15)
10:50 Ryan O’Reilly (11) 5 – 3
Niko Mikkola (6), David Perron (15)
16:43 EN Pavel Buchnevich (18) 6 – 3
Robert Thomas (32)