TORONTO — Sheldon Keefe’s team was already weathering the loss of two key blue-line pieces.
The Maple Leafs’ patchwork defense corps might have suffered another major setback on a night that ended in more 3-on-3 frustration.
Anthony Beauvillier scored at 1:56 of overtime Monday as the New York Islanders came back from a goal down late in the third period to defeat Toronto 3-2 in a game that saw the home side lose No. 1 defenseman Morgan Rielly to injury.
“We played a good hockey game,” Keefe said. “We deserved better.”
Noah Dobson, with a goal and an assist, and Josh Bailey scored in regulation for New York (12-8-0), which got 30 saves from Ilya Sorokin.
John Tavares and Auston Matthews replied for Toronto (10-5-5). Erik Kallgren made 21 stops for the Leafs, who lost their fifth straight game that’s gone to OT this season. Mitch Marner added an assist to extend his point streak to 13 contests.
Rielly was injured on an awkward collision with Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third and did not return.
Keefe said his top minute-eating defender will get imaging done Tuesday to determine the extent of the injury for a club already minus Jake Muzzin (neck) and TJ Brodie (oblique).
“It’s tough,” Keefe said of potentially losing Rielly. “We’re already missing guys and Morgan is so important to our team.”
The coach also believes in the organization’s depth.
“We lost Muzzin, we made a big deal of it, it wasn’t a big deal,” Keefe said. “Brodie, made a big deal of it, wasn’t a big deal. We’ve just got to keep playing.
“It’s the way it goes.”
Marner, who also had a 13-game point streak last season, said it will be “next man up” on the back end.
“People have been stepping up in big ways,” he said. “Whatever has to happen next, whoever has to step up next or whatever happens next, I’m sure whoever is going to be in that spot is going to be ready for the challenge and excited for the role.”
Beauvillier wired his fourth goal of the season upstairs off the rush after taking a pass from Brock Nelson in the extra period against a disjointed Leafs group that iced the puck twice in OT.
“I felt like screaming,” the winger said after finding the back of the net for the first time in 11 games. “I felt relief.”
Down 1-0 after Dobson scored his sixth on a deflected point shot in the first period, the Leafs got even at 4:49 of the second on a power play when Tavares, who bolted from New York in free agency in July 2018 after nine seasons on Long Island, fired his 11th past Sorokin.
The Islanders netminder then robbed Calle Jarnkrok on a Toronto flurry before Matthews scored his ninth on a deflection at 14:06.
After Jarnkrok missed a great chance from the slot late in the third, Bailey buried his fourth to tie it at 2-2 with 2:58 left in regulation following a mixup in the defensive zone that set the stage for the visitors’ OT triumph.
“We played pretty well for the majority of the game,” Matthews said. “We controlled play and limited a lot of their chances, but a bit of an error and they forced overtime.
“Then it’s anybody’s game.”
Now the Leafs will await word on Rielly.
ROBERTSON WATCHES AGAIN
Toronto winger Nick Robertson was in the press box as a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game.
The 21-year-old scored twice in his season debut on Oct. 20 against Dallas — including the winner in overtime — after being sent to the AHL out of training camp because of salary cap concerns. He has just three assists in nine games since.
Robertson, who doesn’t have to clear waivers to be shipped to the minors, is averaging 11 minutes 19 seconds of ice time when he’s been in the Leafs’ lineup.
“I’m not going to answer this question every single day,” Keefe said of the 2019 second-round pick’s status Monday morning. “There’s a lot of benefits to being in the NHL for a young player.”
CLUTTERBUCK A HIT
Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck was credited with nine hits to give him 3,641 for his career, which passed former Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown for the NHL’s all-time record since the league started keeping track in 2005-06.
“Means that I played long enough to have a chance to do it more than anyone else,” the 35-year-old Clutterbuck, who suited up for his 951st regular-season game, said following New York’s morning skate.
“It’s part of my job.”
Leafs: Open a four-game road trip Wednesday in New Jersey.
Islanders: Host Edmonton on Wednesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2022.
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