Frederik Andersen proved he’s feeling just fine after missing nearly two games with an upper-body injury as the Maple Leafs goaltender made 29 saves, helping Toronto beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Thursday night.
Andersen appeared to be hurt last weekend in a collision with Sabres forward William Carrier during a loss at Buffalo. Andersen missed the final two periods of that game and sat out Tuesday night’s win over Florida.
He couldn’t have looked much sharper against Nashville, and the Maple Leafs needed every save as the Predators outshot them 30-17.
“I don’t think anybody was too worried here about him,” Toronto rookie forward Auston Matthews said. “He’s been our guy all year. He’s been solid for us, and obviously tonight he was a brick wall out there. He made all of our big saves. He kept us in the game at times when they had momentum.”
Matthews and James van Riemsdyk each scored a power-play goal, with Matthews getting his seventh game-winner.
Connor Brown added an empty-net goal with 58.4 seconds left as the Maple Leafs started a three-game road trip by sweeping the season series with Nashville. They also won their second straight and fifth in six games to remain in third place in the Atlantic Division.
“We got the result that we wanted,” centre Mitchell Marner said.
Filip Forsberg scored his 30th of the season for Nashville. The Predators have lost two straight after a four-game winning streak.
Toronto is trying to hold off Boston, while the Predators needed a win to leapfrog St. Louis into third place in the Central Division. Nashville came in three points shy of its third straight playoff berth under coach Peter Laviolette.
“Our goal is to move forward and qualify for the playoffs, so we’re not there,” Laviolette said. “We’ve got work to do.”
It was the 1,000th game behind the bench for Laviolette, making him the 28th coach overall and just the second born in the United States to reach that mark in the…