NEWARK, N.J. – John Tavares scored twice and hit the 300-goal mark for his career in leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
Defenceman Ron Hainsey also scored in Toronto’s three-goal first period and third-string goaltender Michael Hutchinson made 27 saves as the Maple Leafs beat the Devils for the third time in as many games.
Mitch Marner added an empty-net goal with 22 seconds to play. Blake Coleman and Brian Boyle scored in a 26-second span for the Devils late in the second period to get New Jersey within a goal.
Keith Kinkaid made 39 saves, including two on Tavares that prevented his hat trick and 30th goal of the season. Hutchinson, who was acquired in a trade with Florida on Dec. 29, made his fourth straight start with Frederik Anderson and Garret Sparks out with injuries. He came up big early in the third period, stopping Brett Seney in close.
The Maple Leafs outscored the Devils 13-3 in winning the first two games this season, and it looked like they were headed for another blowout after the opening 20 minutes.
Hainsey scored his first goal since Nov. 23 with a shot from the left point at 4:30. Tavares got his 300th goal less than three minutes later, lifting the rebound of Jake Gardiner’s shot past Kinkaid. He would add No. 301 in the waning seconds of the period, finishing off a great play on which Mitch Marner made a cross-ice pass to Morgan Rielly and the defenceman found Tavares with another cross-ice pass for a shot into an open net.