Mitchell Marner had a goal and an assist to reach 500 NHL points for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 4-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.
Marner, who also extend his home point streak to 17 games (six goals, 19 assists), has 153 goals and 348 assists in 467 NHL games over seven seasons with Toronto.
“It’s just a cool moment, for sure,” Marner said. “You definitely don’t try and really think about setting milestones or doing milestones and trying not to be selfish about yourself, but it’s definitely a cool one, especially growing up in this city and dreaming of playing for this team and doing it all with this team. It’s been special, a lot of fun, but there are bigger goals ahead.”
John Tavares scored twice, Morgan Rielly had two assists, and Ilya Samsonov made 22 saves for the Maple Leafs (24-9-7), who were 1-2-1 in their previous four games.
Toronto plays at the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
“Goaltending has been solid all year,” Tavares said. “Samsonov was great today. It was a slow start for us, but he was solid. We obviously had to get our game going, which we did, and then we wore them down, capitalized and took care of them in the third period.”
Jake Walman scored, and Magnus Hellberg made 25 saves for the Red Wings (16-15-7), who have lost four of five, including 3-2 to the Florida Panthers on Friday.
“Five-on-5 play, good, but unfortunately we lost the special teams battle again tonight,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “Our penalty kill was better, going 4-for-5 on the kill, but pretty good first period, didn’t give up much. I didn’t really hate our second, and it looks like we lost a little bit of gas. There were not many stops in that period, and with the back-to-back, coming out of that period down 2-1, we didn’t have enough for a push in the third.”
Tavares put the Maple Leafs ahead 2-1 at 6:37 of the second period. He received a backhand pass from Calle Jarnkrok that sent him in alone and scored glove side on Hellberg.
“It was really nice, not an easy play on the backhand,” Tavares said. “I told [Jarnkrok] when I went to make the fake it started to roll on me, so I didn’t want to ruin the opportunity. Great play and nice to finish it off.”
Pontus Holmberg made it 3-1 at 6:19 of the third period when he deflected a shot from Rielly over Hellberg’s blocker.
Tavares shot into an empty net with 1:39 left for the 4-1 final.
Walman gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead at 11:57 of the first period, receiving a stretch pass from Olli Maatta at the blue line and scoring on a breakaway.
“We had a chance to win, played well for a lot of the game, but it was just unfortunate,” Walman said. “I thought we controlled a lot of that game.”
Detroit outshot Toronto 8-2 in the first period.
“I just thought Detroit was playing harder than us, and it showed,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “They had a little more urgency in everything they were doing. We knew they were going to forecheck and make it hard to get out of our end, and they did that, but we made it easier on them. Players responded really well, but Samsonov’s play gave us a chance to gain confidence and stay with it.”
Samsonov was 2-1-1 in his previous four starts but had allowed 17 goals during that span. While the team had an off day on Friday, Samsonov spent time working with goalie coach Curtis Sanford reviewing those starts and working on his technique on the ice.
“Last four games for me, really hard,” Samsonov said. “But today I believe in my skill, I believe in my mental spot, and I know if you work hard every day the luck is coming back. I see today I believe I’m back on track and stopping the puck and getting some help for my teammates for a win.”
Marner scored 24 seconds into the second period to tie it 1-1, one-timing a rebound off the end boards from Auston Matthews’ initial shot on a power play.
“Just coming in [the dressing room] and knowing that wasn’t good enough [in the first period] from all of us, that we have to be way more competitive on pucks,” Marner said. “I think we wanted to start off good there with that power play with however much time we had left, and it was good on us to capitalize there. From that point on, everyone stepped up, starting winning more battles, communicating more, and getting out of our zone cleaner and getting more looks down at their end.”