A couple of bad penalties in the first period, opened the flood gates for Toronto’s offence, as Mitch Marner and Tyler Bozak each record four points to give Toronto the 8-1 win, snapping their recent three game losing skid.
The rare afternoon start is because of the significance that this game had in history. Exactly 100 years ago on December 19th was the first game recorded by the storied Maple Leaf franchise, then the Arenas. The Arenas lost 10-9 that game but the Leafs in the replica jerseys almost reached that same goal total this game, but this time in a winning effort. This game was held to usher in the new wave of Leaf players, fans and management to continue the strong legacy and tradition that carries with this team. Well the Leafs youngsters certainly did their part bringing in the next era as Mitch Marner and William Nylander had their best games of the season. Marner snapped a 15-game goal-less drought, while Nylander looked comfortable and dangerous playing centre this afternoon. Frederik Andersen continued to set the tone along with the Leafs offence in this game. He let in the softy from Jeff Skinner but he was crippling to the Hurricanes offense that fell behind quickly and began to play desperate offensive hockey. With Nikita Zaitsev out of the lineup, Connor Carrick drew back in and played great, logging 17 minutes and scoring. Roman Polak however was trusted with the extra minutes that normally would go to Zaitsev. Polak was second to Ron Hainsey in ice time with just over 21 minutes, while six of them was on the penalty kill. Carolina played the perfect part for an opponent’s celebration game, as a team that showed no fight until the game was out of reach. They were a perfect victim for the Leafs to usher in a new era of hockey in Toronto.
Performance of the Night:
When you have a career performance in the NHL, you certainly deserve to win Puck Talk’s performance of the night. Mitch Marner wins it this game for his career best four points in one game. His point total matches how his game was this afternoon. Marner was buzzing around offensively, generating scoring opportunities. His goal was perfect shot placement and even his assist on Bozak’s goal showed his determination to get the puck to the back of the net one way or another. Surprisingly Marner only played 13 minutes, but he made his impact on this game, earning him the performance of the night.
This game was one of the best 8-1 games you will see. I watched pre-game and the buzz from the ACC and the atmosphere in their getting behind the 100 year celebration was pretty cool to see. It looked like it was going to be a slow game in the first five minutes until Komarov roofed one on Darling and the flood gates opened. For Leafs fans, to see eight goals scored in one game, especially their troubles in December, I say this game was a 3/5.