Marner has 3 assists as Maple Leafs beat Bruins 4-2
TORONTO (AP) — On a night when Patrick Marleau celebrated his 1,600th NHL game, Mitch Marner did what he does best: set up goals.
“He has great vision out there,” the 39-year-old Marleau said. “The way he skates and handles the puck, he can maneuver around guys and draw guys to him. He did that quite a bit tonight.”
Igor Ozhiganov scored his first career goal, Travis Dermott netted his second and Frederik Andersen made 38 saves to earn his 13th win of the season. Josh Leivo and Zach Hyman had the other goals for the Maple Leafs (17-8-0).
David Pastrnak, who had a hat trick in a 5-1 win over Toronto on Nov. 10, scored twice for Boston (13-7-4).
Marner had two primary assists, upping his NHL-best total to 24 (he has 27 assists in all).
“He’s found a nice groove here,” Marleau said. “He’s only going to keep getting better, I think. And that’s pretty scary.”
It was the 10th multi-assist game of the season for Marner, who also has six goals.
“With the puck, without the puck, he’s definitely a slippery guy,” said Dermott, who scored the first goal of the game off an assist from Marner. “And if you get open, he’s going to find you and get the puck to you right on the tape and pretty flat. He’s a guy you want to be out there with.”
Each team scored twice in a frenetic second period as Boston outshot Toronto 18-9. With the Maple Leafs leading 3-2 in the third, Danton Heinen hit the post for the Bruins.
Hyman added an empty-net goal with 1:35 remaining to seal Toronto’s fifth straight home win.
The Bruins lost Kevan Miller late in the first period after the defenseman took a puck to the throat off a shot by John Tavares. Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said Miller went to the hospital and was to remain overnight for observation, with some swelling in the throat area.
“Right now he’s out of any danger, from what we’ve heard,” Cassidy said.
“Looks like X-rays are negative,” he added. “They’re going to keep him overnight for observation, make sure his breathing stays normal. Hopefully he’s able to fly back (Tuesday), that’s the plan.”
Both teams were playing their fourth game in six nights.
The Bruins, who won 3-2 in Montreal on Saturday night, had won two straight and three of four. Toronto was coming off a 6-0 win over visiting Philadelphia on Saturday night.
Marleau became the 11th NHL player to reach 1,600 regular-season games. He has missed just 31 games over 21 seasons since making his debut on Oct. 1, 1997.
“Great, great human being,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said before the game.
“Hard worker, great pro, great person,” he added. “So important for this team it’s not even funny and I’m not even talking about what he does on the ice. He’s fantastic.”
Marleau received a standing ovation after a video tribute in the first period.
“That was amazing. It was unexpected, but it was greatly appreciated,” he said.
Dermott beat Jaroslav Halak with a shot through traffic 17:44 into the game for his first of the season after the Bruins’ top line couldn’t clear the puck.
Boston, gaining momentum, outshot Toronto 10-0 to open the second before Toronto registered a shot midway through the period. Pastrnak, off a feed from Brad Marchand, tied it on the power play at 3:39
The Bruins hit another post on the power play later in the second. Seconds later, with the penalty over, a freewheeling Marner found Ozhiganov cruising in from the point and his shot banked in off a Boston body at 13:06.
Pastrnak tied it at 14:22, taking Torey Krug’s nifty pass to the side of the net before slotting it past Andersen to increase his season total to 19.
Leivo put Toronto ahead 3-2 on the power play at 18:38, banging home Tyler Ennis‘ rebound after a rush by Marner.
NOTES: Andersen is 11-1-0 in the regular season against Boston and 3-3 in the postseason. His last meaningful start against the Bruins was Game 7 of the first round of the 2018 playoffs when Boston rallied to end the Maple Leafs’ season with a 7-4 win. … It was the 672nd meeting between the two Original Six teams in a rivalry that dates back to 1924. … Both clubs were missing key players. Toronto was without Auston Matthews (shoulder), and restricted free agent William Nylander remains unsigned. The Bruins injury list included star center Patrice Bergeron (rib), and defensemen Zdeno Chara (left knee) and Charlie McAvoy (concussion). Sweden’s Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, known as JFK, centered the Bruins’ top line in Bergeron’s absence. … Toronto defenseman Nikita Zaitsev missed the morning skate because of illness but played anyway.
Bruins: Host the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Maple Leafs: Host the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.