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Kadri, MacArthur lead Maple Leafs past stumbling Devils

The SportsXchange

TORONTO - Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri and New Jersey Devils head coach Peter DeBoer spent two seasons together in the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers, winning a Memorial Cup in 2008.

On Tuesday, DeBoer could only exchange grins with Kadri from the Devils bench as the 22-year-old opened the scoring and then set up Clark MacArthur for the game winner in Toronto's 4-2 win over New Jersey.

"He did a lot, I came in pretty premature when I first got there in Kitchener," said Kadri who extended his point streak to five games on the game's opening goal. "I was a 15-year-old kid and he kind of showed me the ropes of the game. He built me up in to that first, second line center man that I potentially could be.

"He was a big influence on me so I'm glad I got to see him."

MacArthur, who extended his point streak to five games, took a Kadri feed from his skate to his stick and beat Johan Hedberg, on the power play, for his sixth of the season just over seven minutes into the third.

Andrei Loktionov's tripping penalty, which put the Maple Leafs on the power play, was the Devils (10-7-5) third offensive zone penalty of the game.

"Those are tough ones to take," said Devils center, Adam Henrique. "If you're going to take a penalty, you want to try and save a goal in the defensive zone, but I lost the draw there on the kill and that's what got us there."

Phil Kessel picked up the insurance marker less than two minutes later putting home a 2-on-1 feed from James van Reimsdyk for his fifth goal of the season. It was Kessel's first goal on home ice this season in Toronto's 10th home game.

"I think I've owed him a few," joked van Reimsdyk. "I saw him busting his tail to get to the post so I just tried to lay it in there for him and he made a great play."

New Jersey has now lost all five games without Martin Brodeur. The Devils had won their previous three games in Toronto.

Toronto won back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 16 and Feb. 18.

The Maple Leafs entered the third period trailing 2-1, but it took only 39 seconds for Jay McClement to tie the score at 2-2 off a Patrik Elias turnover.

McClement now has four points in five games.

Marek Zidlicky's pair of second-period goals gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Trailing 1-0 after one, Zidlicky beat a screened James Reimer for his second goal of the season tying it at 1-1.

Then six minutes later, Zidlicky picked up a Frazer McLaren turnover at the New Jersey blue line and finished off a give-and-go with Ryan Carter for his second goal of the night and third of the season.

Both Zidlicky goals came with Toronto's fourth line of McLaren, David Steckel and Colton Orr on the ice.

Ironically, following the morning skate, Maple Leafs senior vice president and general manager, Dave Nonis, credited the play of McLaren as one of the reasons he was able to deal Mike Brown to the Edmonton Oilers.

"Frazer's play made it easier; he has been able to play in all situations," Nonis said. "(Coach) Randy (Carlyle) feels comfortable with him ... it was definitely a factor."

The line finished a combined minus-6 while both McLaren and Orr were stapled to the Leafs bench for the entire third period.

Kadri opened the scoring with his ninth goal of the season. Kadri tried to center a pass for MacArthur, but it hit Hedberg's pad and trickled in.

Kadri now has four goals and four assists in his last five games. He now has a team-leading 23 points.

"He's a good player, he knows how to read off me and we kind of think a little bit the same so it's easy to get each other the puck and we're talking a lot out there -- he's a real easy guy to talk to," said Kadri of the chemistry with MacArthur. "Especially as a young guy, sometimes you don't want to say too much, but he's open, he's up for whatever I want to do and it's vice versa with him."

NOTES: Brodeur missed his fifth straight game due to a back injury. ... The Devils placed Bobby Butler on waivers Sunday with the hopes of sending him to the AHL, but the Nashville Predators claimed Butler on Monday. ... The Maple Leafs sent Brown to the Edmonton Oilers for a conditional 2014 fourth-round draft pick. ... Nonis dispelled rumors defenseman Mike Komisarek had asked for a trade over the weekend saying, "What he said is that, if it's in the best interest of the team, he wouldn't stand in the way (of a trade), but his preference is to get back in the line-up." Komisarek has played just four games this season and has been a healthy scratch since Feb. 2. ... Toronto forward Matt Frattin missed his 10th game with a knee injury. ... Toronto signed Josh Leivo to a three-year, entry-level contract on Monday. Leivo was a third-round pick of the Maple Leafs in the 2011 draft.
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