TORONTO (AP)—Even the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs were able to take advantage of Minnesota’s road woes.
Jeff O’Neill scored with just over 2 minutes remaining and Toronto ended a three-game skid with a 4-3 victory over the Wild on Tuesday night.
John Pohl, Mats Sundin and Alex Steen also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won just four of their last 14 games.
“We’ve been awful on the road,” said Rolston, whose team is 4-13-1 away from home. “We have to be better if we are going to compete for the Stanley Cup. You got to win games on the road.”
Only Los Angeles and Phoenix have fewer points away from home. Wild goalie Manny Fernandez said it’s taking a toll.
“It’s been awhile so it’s certainly affecting us,” Fernandez said. “If it’s in the back of our minds I don’t know. Obviously it is.”
Steen, a second-year forward, has struggled this year, but has impressed coach Paul Maurice with his work ethic lately and found himself on the top line with Sundin.
Steen scored just his third goal of the season after goalie Manny Fernandez failed to close his glove on a shot in the third period. Steen’s father, Tomas— a former Leaf—watched from the stands.
But Rolston tied it at 3 on the power play 9:32 into the third by separating himself from the defenseman and scoring on a one-timer.
After Sundin won a faceoff, Bryan McCabe put a shot on net before O’Neill put in the rebound at 17:42 of the third.
Toronto outshot Minnesota 36-20.
“We lost three in a row, but today everybody worked hard. We were a determined team even when they came back and scored on us,” Steen said. “You could feel it on the bench. We were hunting for the fourth goal.”
Foster scored on a screened shot from the blue line, giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead at 2:53 of the first. Sundin recorded the 1,200th point of his career when he tied it after his shot hit off Fernandez’s left pad and into the net at 18:58 of the first.
Walz skated in all alone and scored after Branko Radivojevic made a pass from behind the net at 11:47 of the second.
Less than a minute later Pohl tied it with a backhanded effort on a penalty shot.
Maurice said Michael Peca’s surgery on his broken right leg went well. Peca was released early from hospital to spend Christmas with his family. He’s expected to miss at least three months.