Mitch Marner scores in OT as Maple Leafs edge Flames 5-4
TORONTO (AP) — Mitch Marner scored 43 seconds into overtime to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
The winner came on the power play after Calgary’s Jonathan Huberdeau took a high-sticking penalty on the opening faceoff of the extra period.
Marner also picked up an assist in the first period to extend his franchise-record point streak to 22 games. He has 11 goals and 19 assists within that stretch.
The Maple Leafs (18-5-6) improved to 11-0-3 in their last 14 contests, while the Flames (13-11-4) lost their second in a row.
William Nylander had two goals and three assists for Toronto, and Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists. Michael Bunting also scored in front of a crowd of 18,857 at Scotiabank Arena.
Only 29 games into the season, the 26-year-old Nylander has scored 17 times, halfway to his career-high 34 goals from just a season ago.
“Obviously, tonight he carries our team and is basically the reason we get two points,” said Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray, who made 22 saves.
“He’s just a stud. He’s incredibly gifted. He works hard. I’ve said this a bunch of times, but he just seems to win a ton of 50/50 battles. That goes to his strength and his dedication to win those battles.”
Nylander pinned his solid play on his skating.
“That’s the most important thing for me and helping me create space and get chances out there,” he said.
Noah Hanifin scored twice for Calgary, and Andrew Mangiapane had two assists.
Murray made a shoulder save on a Blake Coleman short-handed breakaway for one of his stops. Toronto went the other way for the game’s opening goal from Matthews on an early power play for his sixth in seven games.
However, a Matthews turnover inside the Flames’ blue line led to a tying goal from Hanifin 9:13 into the first.
It was the first goal allowed by the Maple Leafs in 129:13 after Murray and backup Ilya Samsonov posted back-to-back shutouts this week.
Marner failed to close in time on a trailing Nazem Kadri, and the former Maple Leafs center put Calgary in front 2-1 at 12:52 of the first.
Toronto drew even with another power-play goal. This time, a Nylander wrist shot beat Dan Vladar, who finished with 29 saves. Marner made a short pass to Rasmus Sandin, who found his fellow Swede for his second assist in the first period.
″(Nylander) still has a long way to go in terms of fulfilling his potential,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I think he can and will be in that top tier of players.”
The Flames grabbed the lead for the second time 11:11 into the second. Mikael Backlund hit the post, but fourth-liner Trevor Lewis knocked in the rebound.
Calgary was the better team in the second, but Matthews bailed out his team late in the middle frame. He forced a turnover behind the Flames goal, and the puck squirted out to a wide-open Nylander for his 17th goal of the season.
A harmless shot from Hanifin was bobbled by Murray and snuck through his pads for a power-play goal and a 4-3 Calgary lead at 3:31 of the third period.
But Bunting knocked in a rebound off the end boards to tie the game for a fourth time less than three minutes later.
The Maple Leafs announced forward Nick Robertson would miss the next six to eight weeks with a shoulder injury suffered against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. To take his place, Joey Anderson was recalled from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies for his season debut with the Maple Leafs.
Flames: At Montreal on Monday night in the finale of a three-game trip.
Maple Leafs: Host Anaheim on Tuesday night in the finale of a three-game homestand.
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