James van Riemsdyk had two goals and one assist to help the Toronto Maple Leafs move within five points of second place in the Atlantic Division with a 5-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Thursday.
Van Riemsdyk, who had a hat trick in a 6-5 shootout win against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, scored 3:00 apart in the first period and assisted on Tyler Bozak’s power-play goal in the second period. Curtis McElhinney made 38 saves in place of Frederik Andersen, out with an upper-body injury, to give the Maple Leafs (42-22-7) their third straight win and move five points behind the Boston Bruins.
“[Van Riemsdyk]’s obviously been real hot here since the trade deadline,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t know if it’s you get to concentrate on hockey and not think about the other things, but he’s been good for us. He’s obviously got real good hands around the net and [been] an important player for us.”