CALGARY — Calle Jarnkrok scored the game winner for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 2-1 victory over the host Calgary Flames on Thursday.
Jarnkrok struck early in the third period and Mitch Marner also scored for Toronto (38-16-8).
Blake Coleman scored for Calgary (27-22-13), which dropped to 3-4-3 in its last 10 games.
With 20 games to go, and the Nashville Predators on their heels one point behind, the Flames chased the Winnipeg Jets, who are holding down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot five points ahead.
Backup Joseph Woll had 25 saves in his third start for the Maple Leafs, who played their second game in as many nights following a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
Jacob Markstrom has been under the microscope in Calgary, but the Swede gave the Flames the goaltending they needed to win the game with 32 saves.
Denying William Nylander on a breakaway with less than a minute left in the second period kept the game deadlocked 1-1 heading into the third period.
Jarnkrok scored the go-ahead goal at 2:20 of the final frame.
Markstrom made the initial save on an all-alone Morgan Rielly, but Rielly tapped the puck back to the net for Jarnkrok to tuck under the sprawled goaltender’s glove.
Marner pulled the Leafs even 1-1 at 7:36 of the second period.
Calgary’s Nazem Kadri scored two minutes later, while Marner served a high-sticking minor.
The power-play goal was successfully challenged for offside, however, by Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe.
After corralling the puck at the top of the zone, Marner zigzagged through the slot and beat Markstrom’s glove for his 11th point in his last five games.
Auston Matthews’s assist on Marner’s goal was his fourth point in three games.
Toronto outshot the Flames 10-7 in the opening period on the strength of a pair of power-play chances, but the team that leads the NHL in first-period goals (67) trailed 1-0.
With the Flames serving a too-many-men minor, Coleman scored short-handed at 2:32 of the first period for his second goal in as many games.
Coleman got the jump on Erik Gustafsson, who didn’t corral the puck at the blue line, for a breakaway to beat Woll low stick side.
Defencemen Luke Schenn and Gustafsson suited up for Toronto in their first games since they were acquired this week in trades with Vancouver and Washington, respectively.
Toronto has added half a dozen new players to its lineup via trades since Feb. 17.
The Flames cap a three-game homestand Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.
Toronto continues west to face the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2023.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press