Lucas Viveiros | Report

Carried behind another dominant performance from Mitch Marner, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the New York Rangers at home on Saturday night by a final score of 5-3. 

Patrick Marleau scored the game’s first goal on a tricky deflection that Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev couldn’t track properly. It took just 2:58 for the Buds to grasp the 1-0 lead.

Solid goaltending from both sides kept the game at 1-0 until 15:00 even into the middle period, when a hard slap-shot from New York d-man, Neal Pionk beat Andersen clean high blocker to tie the game at one’s.

The score would remain dead locked until the third period, when the offense would start to explode all around.

First, just a minute and 37 seconds into the third, Andreas Johnsson would get credit for a goal, as a Mitch Marner shot hit off of Johnsson and into the net to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead.

Then, under four minutes later, Norris contender Morgan Rielly would be hit with a clean pass from Johnsson and fire a bullet just under the bar to make it 3-1 Toronto, scoring his career best 12th of the season.

The Rangers would respond over a minus later, as Filip Chytil would make a nice deke around Rielly and find Kevin Hayes in front for a tap in, trimming the lead to 3-2.

But the electrifying duo of John Tavares and Mitch Marner would score a thing of beauty on a two-on-one with 7:07 to play in the game. On the goal, Tavares would spot Marner with a pretty behind the back pass, and Marner would have all the time in the world to shake around Georgiev and slid the puck by his left pad to assert the Leafs lead at 4-2.

New York would push back with 3:41 left in the game, as on a long shot by Marc Staal, the puck would be deflected twice on the way through, once by Hayes and once by the goalscorer Chris Kreider to slim the lead to 4-3.

The Rangers would give it all they had at the end, pulling the goalie for the extra attacker, and getting some nice looks to tie the game, but Andersen would be up to the task and not surrender that critical tying goal.

With just over 20 seconds remaining, Mitch Marner would breakaway on the empty cage and fire the puck home to ensure the victory at 5-3.

Revisit the game’s highlights below.

Next, Toronto will play the second half of a back-to-back, welcoming Dylan Larkin and the Detroit Red Wings to their home barn on Sunday evening.

Puck drop is set for 7:30pm from Scotiabank Arena, and can be watched on Sportsnet.

More news from the ice

  • The Maple Leafs 24 wins are their most in franchise history through their first 36 games of a season
  • Toronto is 13-1-1 when Mitch Marner records multiple points in a game this season
  • Patrick Marleau becomes the fourth player in NHL history to register at least 10 goals in 21 or more straight seasons
  • Tyler Ennis left the game with a broken ankle
  • Igor Ozhiganov missed his second consecutive game due to an illness
  • Martin Marincin played in his 100th game with the Maple Leafs
  • Legendary broadcaster Bob Cole called his 808th career Leafs game on television fore “Hockey Night in Canada”

Out of town scoreboard

Saturday, December 22nd

Nashville 2 Boston 5

Columbus 4 Philadelphia 3

Florida 2 Detroit 1

Montreal 4 Vegas 3 (OT)

Los Angeles 3 San Jose 2 (OT)

St. Louis 3 Calgary 1

Colorado 4 Arizona 6

Anaheim 0 Buffalo 3

Washington 4 Ottawa 0

Pittsburgh 3 Carolina 0

Dallas 2 Minnesota 1 (OT)

Winnipeg 1 Vancouver 0

Tampa Bay 6 Edmonton 3

More coverage to follow. Image from SB Nation.

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