NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Toronto Maple Leafs opened the NHL season with four straight wins for the first time in 17 years with a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday.
Phil Kessel’s power-play goal three minutes into overtime clinched the win for the Leafs, who squandered a two-goal lead during a four-minute span of the third period.
“We could have put our head down and stopped skating and stopped trying,” said Maple Leafs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere. “Some teams would find a way to do that and find a way to lose. We found a way to win.”
Rangers forward Brian Boyle got his first two goals of the season to force overtime but New York came up short in their home opener.
Toronto, which took until November 21 last season to record their fourth win, scored three second-period goals, including Clarke MacArthur’s league-leading fifth.
“The second (period) was tough,” said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 34 saves. “We were taking a lot of chances to try to get back somehow, and they just chipped the puck and came right back at us.”
The victory marks Toronto’s best start since 1993-94 when they opened the season with 10 consecutive wins.
Michal Rozsival scored the other New York goal and Kessel and Mike Komisarek had Toronto’s other second period goals.
New York’s Marian Gaborik suffered a separated shoulder and will be out at least two weeks while Chris Drury, playing his first game of the season after breaking his left index finger in training camp, suffered a break to the same finger and will miss six weeks.
Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario. Editing by Frank Pingue