Toronto Maple Leafs 4 Columbus 1
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Friday, October 4, 2019
Marner's three-point night lifts Leafs over Blue Jackets
Toronto (4) Columbus (1) Final
Mitch Marner scored twice and added an assist to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night at Nationwide Arena.
The Leafs went 2-for-5 on the power play to maintain the upper hand in the victory despite a slow start. Marner and Auston Matthews each scored with the man advantage, with the latter extending his streak to three goals in two games to begin the season.
Cam Atkinson scored Columbus' lone tally, tying an NHL record for most consecutive season-opening goals with his sixth. The 30-year-old tallied 41 goals last season in a six-way tie for the 2018-19 goal-scoring lead.
Goaltending remained a vital reason for Toronto's success, as Frederik Andersen turned away 28-of-29 shots en route to his second victory of the young campaign. He will have the night off in tomorrow night's showdown with the Montreal Canadiens, with Michael Hutchinson expected to make his 2019-20 debut after winning the Leafs' backup job.
Toronto took a 2-0 lead in the second period, including Cody Ceci's first as a Leaf, before Atkinson scored a power-play goal to cut the deficit in half. The home team had five opportunities with the man-advantage but only converted this once.
The Blue Jackets pressed in the third period and nearly matched Toronto shot-for-shot, however, allowing two goals in the process. Marner potted his second before Matthews delivered a blistering shot that entered and exited the net within a matter of milliseconds.
Plenty of decisions remain to be made as Toronto sorts out their fourth line forward group and the sixth defenceman spot beside 19-year-old standout rookie Rasmus Sandin. Toronto will return home for their date with the Canadiens tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. inside Scotiabank Arena for the first Hockey Night in Canada of the season.