Leafs celebrate 100th anniversary with rout of Canes
TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs sure know how to celebrate an anniversary.
They matched their season best in goals scored Tuesday afternoon in an 8-1 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes to mark the 100th anniversary of their first game.
Mitch Marner and Tyler Bozak each scored a goal and added three assists for the Maple Leafs (21-13-1), who ended a three-game losing streak. The four points were a career best for Marner.
“It’s definitely exciting,” Marner said. “It was a good game for our team, I thought. I think in the second we got a little bit away from what we wanted to be. ... I just felt like I was skating. It felt like our whole line was skating in general. We were creating chances for each other and I think we were getting above the puck a lot.”
James van Riemsdyk contributed a goal and two assists. His first-period goal was No. 20,000 in team history.
“It worked out perfectly, I guess, with today and all the stuff for it,” van Riemsdyk said. “What better time for it. I think the little dip we were on, we weren’t finding ways to get points in the standings. Today we came out and started the game the way we wanted to and kept going from there.”
Leo Komarov, Patrick Marleau, Kasperi Kapanen, William Nylander and Connor Carrick also scored for the Maple Leafs, who were known as the Toronto Arenas when they lost 10-9 to the Montreal Wanderers on Dec. 19, 1917 in Montreal.
Zach Hyman had two assists and goaltender Frederik Andersen stopped 32 shots for Toronto.
Jeff Skinner scored for the Hurricanes (14-12-7), who had their three-game winning streak stopped. Scott Darling permitted eight goals on 36 shots.
“They were better than we were,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “Their (special) teams obviously set the tone early. They went two-for-two in the first period on the power play and scored a short-handed goal. That’s on the specialty teams there. Some of the plays and decisions we made with the puck were less than perfect. There’s not a lot to take out of the game that we really like.”
The Maple Leafs led 4-1 after the first period.
Komarov scored with his team short-handed for his fourth goal of the season at 2:52 of the first period, nine seconds after Toronto’s Matt Martin was penalized for holding. Darling was beaten on a high shot from above the right circle.
Marner scored from the top of the right circle on a power play at 5:33, his third goal of the season and his first since Nov. 11.
It came after Carolina’s Josh Jooris was assessed four minutes for roughing and Toronto’s Roman Polak two minutes for roughing after their skirmish.
“(Marner) is a good, good player,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “And you keep telling him that if he works hard and he gets on the inside and wins battles that — when you’re playing good, you want the puck all the time. When you’re not playing good, you don’t go get it, you’re watching, you’re thinking too much and your feet don’t move. Your brain does, but your feet don’t.
“Obviously, as soon as he got going there he had adrenaline. I thought Willy (Nylander) was the same. Willy, I don’t know how many shots he missed the net, he hit once I know because he scored, but he had lots of opportunity.”
Skinner notched his 12th goal of the season at 9:07 to trim the Toronto lead to 2-1.
Toronto scored again on a power play at 10:34 when van Riemsdyk knocked in a loose puck for his 16th goal of the season. Brett Pesce was off for slashing.
Bozak scored his seventh of the season at 13:28 on an easy shot after Marner worked the puck in front of the goal.
Peters said he had considered removing Darling after the first period.
“We talked about it after 20, and decided it was more so on the group of 18 in front of him,” Peters said.
The Maple Leafs scored six seconds apart in the third period. Marleau banked his 12th goal of the season off a defenseman at 9:25 and Kapanen scored his second.
Nylander scored his sixth of the season at 14:05 and Carrick netted his second of the season on a power play at 18:33.
“We didn’t do (Darling) any favors,” Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk said. “That’s the bad part of what happened, is we’re down and still giving up opportunities, two-on-ones, getting out-competed. That’s real bad on us. ...This one is just embarrassing.”
NOTES: Toronto C Auston Matthews (upper body) missed his fifth straight game Tuesday and D Nikita Zaitsev (lower body) was put on injured reserve after blocking a shot in the loss to Detroit on Friday. D Martin Marincin was recalled from the Marlies of the AHL but was not in uniform Tuesday. ... Toronto wore jerseys based on the design of those worn by the Arenas. ... The Maple Leafs visit Columbus on Wednesday. ... The Hurricanes will visit Nashville on Thursday.