The losing string is finally over.
Niklas Hagman scored a hat trick as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the host Anaheim Ducks 6-3 on Monday night at the Honda Center.
Mikhail Grabovski, Lee Stempniak and Tomas Kaberle also added markers for the Leafs [1-7-1], who went five-for-11 on the power play, including three two-man advantage goals, to register their first win of the season.
Petteri Nokelainen, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry scored for the Ducks [3-6-1], who have now lost four in a row.
Hagman’s second career hat trick, along with the five-point night of Kaberle and Stempniak’s four-point effort, gave goaltender Jonas Gustavsson [1-2] his first career victory.
The rookie goaltender made 25 saves in the win, his first start since coming back from a groin injury that had sidelined him since Oct.8.
Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller [3-4 ] stopped 33 shots in the loss, his third in a row after winning three of his first four games.
Though Hiller was the far busier goaltender in the first, stopping 17 shots to Gustavsson’s nine, the Swedish netminder made his presence felt six minutes in, stopping an Erik Christensen shot in-close with his right pad, then blocking an attempted tip-in by the Ducks centre.
Nokelainen’s one-timer beat Gustavsson at 10:28 to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead, marking the ninth game in a row the Leafs have allowed the game’s opening goal.
A Perry double-minor for roughing followed by a James Wisniewski slashing penalty at 13:44 put the Leafs on a five-on-three man advantage, where a wide-open Grabovski one-timed a Matt Stajan pass at 14:34 past Hiller to tie the game.
Hagman put the Leafs ahead 2-1 a minute and 16 seconds later with a top-corner slap shot, marking the first time Toronto had a lead since the club’s season opener against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 1, a span of 434 minutes and 47 seconds.
Too many penalties
The Ducks’s undisciplined play continued in the second with Scott Niedermayer taking a roughing penalty at 8:10 after left winger Matt Beleskey received a hooking call, giving the Leafs another five-on-three.
Hagman took full advantage once again, as his wrister over the glove hand of Hiller at 8:40 gave Toronto a 3-1 lead.
But a hooking penalty by Colton Orr at 14:48 put Anaheim on the power play, allowing Ryan to score his second goal 28 seconds later to cut the Leafs’ lead to 3-2 heading into the second intermission.
Stempniak then entered into the scoring fray in the third, beating Hiller five-hole at 3:58 to restore Toronto’s two-goal lead. Kaberle’s power-play marker at 6:11 made it 5-2 before Hagman completed the hat trick at 10:10.
Notes: Hagman’s first period marker ended a seven-game stretch where the Leafs had gone down at least 2-0 … Grabovski and Stempniak both ended six-game goalless streaks … Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere is currently day-to-day after aggravating a groin problem in the club’s 6-4 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct.24 … Before tonight’s victory, Toronto had not won in Anaheim since March 11, 1998 … The Leafs continue their five-game road trip on Wednesday with a meeting against the Dallas Stars, followed by a trip to Buffalo on Friday to take on the Sabres before playing the Canadiens at the Bell Centre the following night.