Maple Leafs upend Wild

Published 3:51 am Wednesday, October 16, 2013

TORONTO — Mason Raymond scored two goals and James Reimer made 36 saves and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Tuesday.

Toronto scored four goals on only 14 shots.

The Leafs improved to 6-1-0, continuing their best start since 1993, when they opened with 10 straight wins.

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Because of penalties, the Wild spent more than a quarter of the first period on the power play. That meant Reimer faced plenty of shots and was the Leafs’ best penalty-killer.

Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper struggled with little action.

The Leafs scored on their first shot, a tic-tac-toe passing play from Cody Franson to Dave Bolland to Tyler Bozak that Kuemper couldn’t stop at 4:24 of the first.

Trevor Smith beat the Wild’s No. 3 goaltender between his legs at 13:51 of the first period on Toronto’s third shot of the game.

The Wild controlled the play in the Leafs’ end and had nothing to show for it until Jason Pominville scored on the power play at 17:27 of the first.

The Leafs had a shot drought of 14 minutes 40 seconds that ended with an outside offering from Franson.

Raymond took advantage of a penalty called on Wild forward Nino Niederreiter to score Toronto’s second power-play goal of the game on just its seventh shot at 12:23 of the second.

At that point, Kuemper’s night was over. It was Wild coach Mike Yeo’s hope that, with starter Niklas Backstrom still not ready to return from a knee injury, he could give Josh Harding a rest.

“(Kuemper) is a guy that we have confidence in,” Yeo said before the game. “If you want to see these young kids can do, then you have to give them that opportunity.”

When Kuemper couldn’t seize that opportunity, Harding replaced him. But he didn’t have to face a shot for the rest of the period and for a total of 10:20.

Reimer didn’t get the benefit of much rest because of the seven-plus minutes the Leafs spent short-handed and the puck-possession advantage the Wild had.

Twice he bailed out his teammates, once when the puck bounced over Phil Kessel’s stick leading to a Mikael Granlund breakaway and then again after Dion Phaneuf turned the puck over to Torrey Mitchell in the neutral zone.

Raymond scored an empty netter, his fourth goal of the season, on the Leafs’ 14th shot with 58 seconds left. Kessel let the puck go by him instead of tapping it into the net and earned his sixth assist instead of his third goal.

NOTES: James van Riemsdyk was scratched from the Leafs’ lineup because of an undisclosed injury that forced him to leave the morning skate early. Smith, who was recalled from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, replaced him in the lineup while Troy Bodie was a healthy scratch. … Defensemen Mathew Dumba (healthy) and Keith Ballard (injured) were scratched by the Wild in favor of Marco Scandella and Nate Prosser. Minnesota can play Dumba up to five more games before deciding whether to keep him around or send him back to the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL.