Hurricanes Maple Leafs Hockey
TORONTO (AP) — Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe considered going away from his new-look line of Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman during some second-period struggles against the Hurricanes.
He decided to stick with it, though, and it turned out to be the right call.
The Marner-Matthews-Hyman line came through in a wild third period as Toronto rallied for an 8-6 victory over Toronto on Monday.
"We just felt that there's potential there, that something could spark itself and get going," Keefe said.
Marner scored two goals and added an assist over a 59-second burst midway through the third that put the Leafs ahead to stay.
"Our adrenaline was so high," said Marner, who had a game-high five points. "I think in that moment, you're just riding the high. You feel like you can play forever."
Matthews, Jason Spezza, William Nylander, John Tavares, Tyson Barrie and Pierre Engvall, with an empty-netter, also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won five straight games.
In the third, Matthews provided a highlight-reel, spinning cross-ice pass that Marner buried at 11:01 to pull Toronto within one.
Hyman and Marner earned assists on Barrie's goal at 11:54. After a Carolina timeout, Marner caught his breath, slipped through the Hurricanes' defense and scored the go-ahead goal on a deke just 6 seconds later.
"He's a really great player and he's fun to play with," Matthews said. "I think we just try to feed off each other like we did tonight."
Martin Necas and Erik Haula had two goals apiece for the Hurricanes, while Brock McGinn and Andrei Svechnikov also scored. Necas led Carolina with four points.
"We had the game in hand and just fell asleep," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Took a little breath and against a team that has some high-end talent, you can’t do that."
Toronto scored three times before the game was six minutes old, but the Hurricanes responded by scoring five unanswered goals to lead 5-3 after 40 minutes.
"It was obviously a roller-coaster, a bit of a run-and-gun kind of game," Matthews said.
Toronto attacked from the start and was rewarded when Spezza scored 30 seconds in. Tavares fed the puck in front of the net and when Brett Pesce couldn't clear it, Spezza chipped it in on the backhand.
Pesce's tough period continued moments later when he raised his stick into Hyman's face in front of the net. The Maple Leafs took advantage with two goals on the ensuing double-minor penalty.
Nylander was left alone in the slot and wired a wrist shot past former Leafs goalie James Reimer at 3:40. The Toronto power-play unit clicked again at 5:10 when Spezza fed Tavares by the side of the net and he roofed it to make it 3-0.
Reimer was yanked after giving up three goals on seven shots. He was replaced by Petr Mrazek, and the Hurricanes seemed to feed off the change.
McGinn had a short-handed goal at 13:49 and Necas added a power-play goal at 19:35 with a redirect of Lucas Wallmark's point shot.
Carolina continued to press in the second period. Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen made a couple of impressive stops as chants of "Fred-dy! Fred-dy!" thundered down.
But the crowd was silenced when the Hurricanes struck for three goals in a 64-second span. A brutal giveaway by Morgan Rielly led to a game-tying goal from Necas at 15:09.
Necas assisted on Haula's goal 20 seconds later and Svechnikov made it 5-3 at 16:13.
Early in the third period, Hyman found Matthews by the faceoff circle and the Toronto sniper buried a one-timer at 2:35 to cut the deficit. Haula responded with a one-timer of his own at 5:58.
Andersen said his teammates refused to let up despite the Carolina pressure.
"We came out really good in the third even though they regained their two-goal lead," he said. "We just said, 'Screw it, we'll play the last 10 and give it our all.' The guys were unbelievable."
Carolina outshot Toronto 40-39.
Former Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner, now with the Hurricanes, received a nice ovation after a video tribute was played early in the first period. Gardiner was making his return after spending eight NHL seasons in Toronto.
NOTES: Canadian PGA Tour player Corey Conners was in attendance. ... Tavares had three points in a period for the 10th time in his career. His personal best was a four-point effort for the New York Islanders against Tampa Bay in 2011. ... Marner extended his point streak to eight games.
Hurricanes: At the New York Rangers on Friday.
Maple Leafs: At New Jersey on Friday.
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