Mitch Marner explodes for four goals in wild Toronto Maple Leafs win
Meanwhile, on this night, Matthews in the second period scored his 37th goal which tied the defending Rocket Richard Trophy winner with Edmonton Oilers Leon Draisaitl for first in league goal scoring. Also having a night to remember was rookie first line forward Michael Bunting who scored a goal in what was a five-point night.
Resembling those wide-open high scoring games from the ’80s, Toronto struck for three first-period goals. Getting things started was forward William Nylander who just shy of four minutes into regulation picked the top corner with an absolute laser for his 20th goal of the season. Less than two minutes later, at the 6:18 mark, Toronto doubled their lead when Bunting, who is a serious Calder Trophy contender scored his 18th goal of the year.
The second period turned out to be the Mitch Marner show. In less than a nine-minute span that first line of Marner, Matthews and Bunting proved dangerous as Marner struck for three straight goals with both Matthews and Bunting getting assists. Marner, who is known more as a play-maker would go on to have a four-goal game and now has 21 goals on the year.
Following Marner’s third goal the Wings got one back when veteran forward Sam Gagner, with a little over six minutes remaining in the second, scored his sixth which was answered shortly afterward by Matthews scoring his 37th which with a little over a minute left in the second increased Toronto’s lead to 7-2.
Toronto’s goal-tending struggles reared it’s ugly head in the third as the relentless Wings struck with four straight goals to chase Campbell and make it a one-goal game. Starting the Red Wings scoring barrage was Filip Hronek who 35 seconds in, scored his fifth which was followed by goals from Carter Rowney with his third, Joe Veleno, and Michael Rasmussen with his seventh.
After the Wings made it 7-5, Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe pulled Campbell for former Red Wing Petr Mrazek. After Detroit scored that fourth goal to make it a one-goal game, the Leafs got a big momentum goal from winger Ilya Mikheyev who with a little under 13 minutes remaining in regulation, showcased his speed by cutting to the Wings and scoring his ninth goal.
Showing resiliency, the Wings kept attacking, and 41 seconds later, Raymond scored his second and 15th of the year which cut the Leafs lead to 8-7 with 12:15 remaining in what was shaping up to be a wild finish.
The Leafs would go on to reach double digits with two more goals starting with a short-handed marker from Ondrej Kase with his 11th at the 10:33 mark followed by Marner scoring that 10th and final goal.
While the two points are essential, Leafs brass still has to be concerned going forward about the inconsistency of starter Jack Campbell.
Marc Staal (9), Lucas Raymond (27)
Dylan Larkin (29), Moritz Seider (34)