Mitch Marner leads Maple Leafs past Hurricanes 8-1
TORONTO (AP) — James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak enjoy playing on the same line as Mitch Marner.
It’s easy to see why.
Marner and Bozak each had a goal and three assists, and the Toronto Maple Leafs stopped a three-game slide by routing the Carolina Hurricanes 8-1 on Tuesday.
Toronto scored four in the first and four more in the third on a special anniversary for the NHL. The first NHL games were played on Dec. 19, 1917, including a 10-9 win by the Montreal Wanderers over Toronto.
The Maple Leafs celebrated with a pile of goals, powered by a strong performance by the 20-year-old Marner.
“He’s a guy that wants to be successful and produce, takes pride in that,” said van Riemsdyk, who had a goal and two assists. “He’s always making good plays and passes and me and Bozak are on the end of those.”
Leo Komarov, Patrick Marleau, Kasperi Kapanen, William Nylander and Connor Carrick also scored for Toronto, and Frederik Andersen made 32 saves.
Jeff Skinner scored for Carolina, and Scott Darling stopped 27 shots. The Hurricanes had won three in a row.
“They were better in every area, their special teams set the tone early,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “Some of the plays and decisions we made with the puck were less than perfect ... they were quicker than us and it showed.
“We looked like a mentally fatigued team.”
Toronto played without star center Auston Matthews, who missed his fifth straight game because of an upper-body injury. The Maple Leafs had scored just four times in their previous four games before breaking out against the Hurricanes.
Komarov put Toronto ahead to stay with the team’s first short-handed goal of the season just 2:52 into the first. Komarov kept the puck in transition on a 2-on-1 and beat Darling for his first point since he scored at Calgary on Nov. 28.
The Leafs increased their lead to 2-0 when Marner skated over the Carolina blue line on a power play and beat Darling with a wrist shot from the top of the circle at 5:33, ending a 15-game goal drought with his third of the season.
Skinner responded with a knuckler at 9:07 that eluded Andersen, but van Riemsdyk restored Toronto’s two-goal lead by putting home a rebound with the man advantage for his team-leading 16th of the season.
Marner, who picked up an assist on van Riemsdyk’s goal, set up Bozak’s seventh goal to make it 4-1 at 13:28, giving the 20-year-old forward a three-point period.
“Just felt like I was skating, whole line in general,” Marner said. “If we want to be successful that’s what we have to do.”
Andersen made a couple of big stops in the second and Toronto put it away with two goals in six seconds in the third. Marleau picked up his 12th of the season at 9:25, and Kapanen quickly added his second.
“This one’s just embarrassing, at least if you get to (overtime) you can say you showed up and put forth a good effort,” Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk said. “Sure hope we can move on fast.”
NOTES: The four points for Marner were a career high. ... Toronto wore commemorative jerseys with “Arenas,” an early name for the team, on the front.
Hurricanes: Visit Nashville on Thursday night.
Maple Leafs: Visit Columbus on Wednesday night.