Toronto Maple Leafs Mitch Marner scores overtime winner
By Neil Becker
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner just keeps on producing.
Once again showing that ability to be an elite game breaker, Marner extended his goal scoring streak to eight games as he scored late in the third before adding the overtime winner in a Monday night 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Marner, who now has 16 goals on the season, had a three -point performance while finishing with a +3 plus/minus stat.
While it might only be February, there was no underestimating the importance of this game which saw the Leafs put their five- game winning streak on the line against a talented Stanley Cup contending Hurricanes team who in the standings sat three points ahead of the Buds.
An intriguing storyline saw both goalies going up against their former teams as Carolina netminder Frederik Anderson was facing his old team the Leafs. On the flipside Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek was going up against his former team the Canes.
Both goalies turned in solid 28 save performances.
Also making his presence known was Leafs forward Auston Matthews who scored two second period goals including one of the power play. Matthews now sits with 31 goals which is only two behind league leader Chris Kreider.
The Leafs, who dropped a 4-1 decision back in October against Carolina, played in front of about 500 fans at Scotiabank Arena as they surrendered the opening goal 13:08 into regulation to Canes forward Nino Niederreiter. That deficit wouldn’t last for long as the Leafs struck for consecutive second period goals from Matthews with the first being on a power play and the second coming with only 23 seconds left in the period.
Carolina, who some experts have picked to win the Stanley Cup, quickly gained the momentum with two third period goals starting with defenceman Tony De Angelo at the eight second mark followed by forward Derek Stefan who a little over nine minutes in scored that go-ahead goal. That momentum wouldn’t work as Marner scored with less than six minutes left in regulation to make it a brand -new game.
Not long after, Marner once more proved clutch as he scored what was his 10th goal of his eight -game scoring streak with this one coming in overtime and clinching another Leafs win.
Toronto, who are 12-2-1 in their past 15 games suffered a big scare in the third when Matthews with 42 seconds remaining was shaken up by a high hit to the head area.
No word on his condition following the game.
The Leafs next play on Thursday, February 10th against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome with opening faceoff scheduled for 9 p.m.
13:08 Nino Niederreiter (14)
Ian Cole (10), Martin Necas (15)
16:16 PPG Austin Matthews (30)
William Nylander (24), John Tavares 24)
19:37 Austin Matthews (31)
Morgan Rielly (34), Mitchell Marner (24)
0:08 Tony DeAngelo (8)
Jesper Fast (7), Jaccob Slavin (21)
9:23 Derek Stepan (7)
Tony DeAngelo (27), Steven Lorenz (4)
14:12 Mitch Marner (15)
Timothy Lilegren (6)
2:51 Mitch Marner 16)
Morgan Rielly (35), John Tavares (25)