Mitch Marner and the Maple Leafs turn it around in rematch with Senators

Mitch Marner and the rest of the Maple Leafs wingers on the top two lines had something to prove against the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday night.Marner, like the other three wingers among the top six forwards, registered zero shots on goal in Friday night’s disappointing loss to Ottawa. The goal in Saturday’s rematch was to reverse that narrative. After Marner buzzed the offensive zone for a go-ahead goal in the second period, that’s exactly what happened.The Leafs wound up with a 3-2 win, showing attention to offence and defence that wasn’t evident the night before.This was Marner’s night, arguably his best offensive performance of the young season.Marner had five shot attempts Friday, but none on net and nothing to show for it. The lack of production up front prompted coach Sheldon Keefe to call out his offence despite the fact they dominated puck possession and overall time in the offensive zone.The issue, according to Keefe: they remained on the outside of the offensive-zone play and failed to get bodies to the net.In fact, through two games, the Leafs — one of the best five-on-five offensively in the NHL last season — had just four of their eight goals through two games at full strength to go with four power-play goals.Marner responded with four shots, seven shot attempts, a goal, a nifty assist on Joe Thornton’s first-period marker, and another nifty play to set up Auston Matthews’ eventual winner on the power play in the third.This was a game in which Marner drove the play, as Keefe likes to say. It was also a game where Marner played the role of shooter. It remains a small sample size, but Marner is trending toward that shooting role, with his passing skills still in tact.Jumbo marker: Marner corralled a stretch pass from T.J. Brodie at the Senators blue line — laying his stick along the ice to collect it — before setting up Thornton for his goal. It was Thornton’s first goal as a Leafs, and with no fans in the stands the celebration could be heard pretty clearly. The 41-year-old Thornton didn’t score his first goal last season with the Sharks until the 39th game.Sens killer: Matthews put Toronto up 3-1 on the power play early in the third period. It was his 14th goal in 16 career games against the Senators. That’s the most by any one player against the Senators since Matthews came into the league four seasons ago.Better D: Keefe had to be happier with the Leafs’ effort on defence. They outshot Ottawa 40-18, clamping down in their own zone in front of goalie Jack Campbell, making his first start of the season.It was also apparent in shot attempts, where the Leafs held a wide edge: 56-21.Matthews’ goal was the fifth of the season on the power play for the Leafs, who are now 5-for-11 with the man advantage. The penalty kill blanked Ottawa on a five-on-three opportunity in the second period with the score 2-1. That was a key moment defensively for Toronto, which has now allowed three power-play goals.Campbell starts: Campbell got the nod in goal after Frederik Andersen started the first two games, while Aaron Dell served as backup. With three goalies on board, it won’t be the last time. Campbell made a game saving stop on Evgenii Dadonov late in the third period.Stutzle scores: Tim Stutzle, drafted third overall by the Senators last year, scored his first goal in the third period to cut the Leafs’ lead to 3-2. The goal came a day after his 19th birthday, and it made him the third-youngest Senator ever to score.Robertson hurt: Leafs rookie Nick Robertson left the game in the first period with what the team called a knee issue. Robertson, plugged in with Keefe sitting Alex Barabanov, took a big hit along the boards near the Leafs bench.Mark Zwolinski is a Toronto-based sports reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @markzwol

Mitch Marner and the Maple Leafs turn it around in rematch with Senators

Mitch Marner and the rest of the Maple Leafs wingers on the top two lines had something to prove against the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday night.

Marner, like the other three wingers among the top six forwards, registered zero shots on goal in Friday night’s disappointing loss to Ottawa. The goal in Saturday’s rematch was to reverse that narrative. After Marner buzzed the offensive zone for a go-ahead goal in the second period, that’s exactly what happened.

The Leafs wound up with a 3-2 win, showing attention to offence and defence that wasn’t evident the night before.

This was Marner’s night, arguably his best offensive performance of the young season.

Marner had five shot attempts Friday, but none on net and nothing to show for it. The lack of production up front prompted coach Sheldon Keefe to call out his offence despite the fact they dominated puck possession and overall time in the offensive zone.

The issue, according to Keefe: they remained on the outside of the offensive-zone play and failed to get bodies to the net.

In fact, through two games, the Leafs — one of the best five-on-five offensively in the NHL last season — had just four of their eight goals through two games at full strength to go with four power-play goals.

Marner responded with four shots, seven shot attempts, a goal, a nifty assist on Joe Thornton’s first-period marker, and another nifty play to set up Auston Matthews’ eventual winner on the power play in the third.

This was a game in which Marner drove the play, as Keefe likes to say. It was also a game where Marner played the role of shooter. It remains a small sample size, but Marner is trending toward that shooting role, with his passing skills still in tact.

  • Jumbo marker: Marner corralled a stretch pass from T.J. Brodie at the Senators blue line — laying his stick along the ice to collect it — before setting up Thornton for his goal. It was Thornton’s first goal as a Leafs, and with no fans in the stands the celebration could be heard pretty clearly. The 41-year-old Thornton didn’t score his first goal last season with the Sharks until the 39th game.

  • Sens killer: Matthews put Toronto up 3-1 on the power play early in the third period. It was his 14th goal in 16 career games against the Senators. That’s the most by any one player against the Senators since Matthews came into the league four seasons ago.

  • Better D: Keefe had to be happier with the Leafs’ effort on defence. They outshot Ottawa 40-18, clamping down in their own zone in front of goalie Jack Campbell, making his first start of the season.

It was also apparent in shot attempts, where the Leafs held a wide edge: 56-21.

Matthews’ goal was the fifth of the season on the power play for the Leafs, who are now 5-for-11 with the man advantage.

The penalty kill blanked Ottawa on a five-on-three opportunity in the second period with the score 2-1. That was a key moment defensively for Toronto, which has now allowed three power-play goals.

  • Campbell starts: Campbell got the nod in goal after Frederik Andersen started the first two games, while Aaron Dell served as backup. With three goalies on board, it won’t be the last time. Campbell made a game saving stop on Evgenii Dadonov late in the third period.

  • Stutzle scores: Tim Stutzle, drafted third overall by the Senators last year, scored his first goal in the third period to cut the Leafs’ lead to 3-2. The goal came a day after his 19th birthday, and it made him the third-youngest Senator ever to score.

  • Robertson hurt: Leafs rookie Nick Robertson left the game in the first period with what the team called a knee issue. Robertson, plugged in with Keefe sitting Alex Barabanov, took a big hit along the boards near the Leafs bench.

Mark Zwolinski is a Toronto-based sports reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @markzwol

Source : Toronto Star More