Marner's 4-goal night leads Maple Leafs to victory over Red Wings in high-scoring affair
Combines for 15 points with linemates Michael Bunting and Auston Matthews
Mitch Marner had four goals and two assists, including a natural hat trick during the first 9:19 of the second period, and the Toronto Maple Leafs withstood a third-period rally to down the Red Wings 10-7 on Saturday night in Detroit, Mich.
Marner scored on two shots from the right circle and one from the left during a one-man barrage to open the middle period that pushed Toronto ahead 6-1. The 24-year-old added his fourth goal late in the third period. He had 14 two-goal games in his career before Saturday but no hat tricks.
"It was pretty cool, I won't lie," he said. "I had a couple in juniors and stuff like that. To have my first [in the NHL], it's a pretty cool feeling."
Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 37th goal and had three assists. Michael Bunting contributed his fifth goal in three games against Detroit this season along with four assists.
"That line was pretty much unstoppable tonight," Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said. "It was great to see Mitch get some goals there again and start heating back up."
WATCH | Marner's big night helps Leafs hold off Red Wings:
Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell was replaced by Petr Mrazek in the final period after allowing five goals. Campbell had 20 saves and Mrazek made six.
Lucas Raymond had two goals and an assist, and Filip Hronek had a goal and three assists for Detroit. Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was pulled after allowing three goals in the fist 11:06 but returned at the start of the third period, allowing six goals on 25 shots. Backup Thomas Greiss stopped 10 of 14 shots.
4-goal outburst in 5:21
Toronto's William Nylander scored his 20th goal less than four minutes into the game. Toronto made it 2-0 at 6:18 of the period on Bunting's backhand.
Raymond scored his first goal of the game on a rebound midway through the period, and the Maple Leafs answered 33 seconds later when David Kampf redirected Ilya Mikheyev's shot from the point.
Toronto led 7-2 entering the third, but Hronek, Carter Rowney, Joe Veleno and Michael Rasmussen scored during the first 5:21 of the period to make it a one-goal game. Mikheyev scored at 7:04 of the period, but Raymond answered 41 seconds later.
"It was just crazy," Red Wings defenceman Marc Staal said. "Obviously, you are shocked and surprised to be back in a game after the way we played in the first two periods. At that point, though, we were pushing so hard to tie the game that we gave up too many chances."
Ondrej Kase gave the Leafs some breathing room at 10:33 on a short-handed tally. Marner's fourth goal of the game followed at 15:41.
"We played great in the first two periods. Our start was one of our best of the year," Bunting said. "We were hounding them, creating chances and we were able to get a lead but hockey is a funny game like that. You kind of step off the pedal a little bit there and they get momentum, the crowd gets into it and they start rolling."
Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill wasn't particularly impressed by his team's comeback.
"The third period was exciting for the fans and the building was electric, but for a coach, this is fool's gold," he said. "What happened out there wasn't good enough, and it wasn't close to being good enough. I think our guys know that."