Phil Kessel scored twice and Mikhail Grabovski assisted on Toronto’s first two goals to lead the surging Maple Leafs past the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 on Monday night.
The Oilers played without coach Tom Renney, who stayed back at the team hotel after taking a puck in the head during the morning skate. The cut required stitches and left Renney experiencing headaches. Associate coach Ralph Krueger took over in his absence.
Toronto has climbed back into playoff position in the Eastern Conference by going 5-0-1 in its last six games. Grabovski has led the charge with 12 points during that stretch.
Clarke MacArthur, Jake Gardiner, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul also scored for the Maple Leafs. Kessel added an assist, passing the 300-point plateau for his career.
Jordan Eberle scored twice and Jeff Petry had a goal for Edmonton, which lost in regulation for the first time since Jan. 21.
Oilers rookie forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins didn’t play after taking a hit from Mike Brown early in the third period. Nugent-Hopkins just returned to the lineup Saturday after missing a month with a shoulder injury.
James Reimer entered the game with a long shutout streak after blanking Toronto’s previous two opponents, but it ended quickly. Eberle collected a puck in front that Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf was unable to clear and beat Reimer just 21 seconds in.
Sam Gagner picked up the second assist on that play, giving him 12 points in three games dating to his eight-point night against Chicago on Thursday.
Grabovski made sure that early lead didn’t stand. He set up MacArthur with a nice touch pass at 7:21 before carrying the puck right around the goal and finding Gardiner in the high slot at 13:45 to give Toronto a 2-1 lead.
Eberle tied it at 17:30 on tic-tac-toe passing play with Taylor Hall and Petry before scoring his 24th of the season.
The wide-open play continued in the second period.
Kessel scored into an open net after a couple of nice passes at 1:28 before Bozak added to the advantage less than 3 minutes later, stealing the puck from defenseman Cam Barker and flipping the puck past Devan Dubnyk.
Petry scored on a point shot at 13:24 to make it 4-3, but Lupul restored Toronto’s two-goal advantage before the intermission. He caught a high shot by Phaneuf and swept it behind Dubnyk, prompting the Oilers’ goalie to smash his stick over the crossbar.
The Oilers came out hard in the third period, but Reimer stood tall. He robbed Ben Eager off the rush and was fortunate a couple of minutes later when Eberle’s shot rang off the post.
Kessel added an empty-net goal to seal the victory.
Notes: Toronto is 16-8-4 at home this season. … The Maple Leafs and Oilers play again in Edmonton on Feb. 15. … Dubnyk has allowed at least four goals in his past three starts. … Eberle moved into the top 10 in the NHL in scoring. … MacArthur is on a five-game point streak. … Gagner, who grew up in Oakville, Ontario, had 30 friends and family members in the crowd of 19,581.