Mitchell Marner was the latest rookie to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to victory.
Marner scored both goals in a 2-1 defeat of the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. It was the Maple Leafs’ first road win of the season.
“He made the right plays at the right time,” said Maple Leafs goaltender Frederick Andersen, who made 42 saves. “It was cool to see him bury a couple there. Some big goals on the road here.”
The 19-year-old Marner scored for the first time since Oct. 15 and had his first two-goal game.
“He was playing great and focused on doing everything right,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “And then when he scored, then he probably wanted to score a little bit and focused on scoring and didn’t score. Focus on doing things right, and everything works out for itself.”
Marner is fourth among NHL rookies in scoring with three goals and five assists in 11 games. His 20-year-old teammate, William Nylander, leads all rookies with four goals and seven assists. Auston Matthews, the 19-year-old centre Toronto selected with the No. 1 pick in last June’s draft, is second with six goals and four assists.
Matthews had four shots on goal and didn’t record a point for the fifth straight game.
Andersen followed up a 44-save performance in Toronto’s 3-2 overtime victory over Edmonton on Thursday with another big game and improved to 5-0 against Buffalo. Andersen spent the past three seasons with Anaheim.
“He’s been amazing for us,” Marner said. “He’s been our best player on the ice every night and he’s been giving us a chance to win. When you have a goaltender like this, you have confidence up front to do things.”
The Maple Leafs improved to 1-3-3 on the road. They also ended an eight-game winless streak in Buffalo.
Marcus Foligno scored for the Sabres and Robin Lehner made 27 saves. Buffalo had a four-game winning streak snapped.
The Sabres’ 42 shots on goal were a season-high.
“We’re shooting a lot, creating a lot of chances, but we’ve got to score more than one,” forward Tyler Ennis said.
Marner opened the scoring 4:08 into the first period. Tyler Bozak carried the puck from behind the net and fed Marner for the tip-in from the right slot.
Marner netted his second goal 1:50 into the second period when he stripped Foligno in front of the net and flicked a wrist shot around Lehner’s left skate.
Foligno atoned for the turnover four minutes later, scoring his second goal of the season on a backhand from the left edge of the crease.
Andersen had 15 saves in each of the first two periods. He slid across the crease to kick away a point-blank shot from Zemgus Girgensons and stopped Girgensons again on a rebound late in the first period. Midway through the second, Andersen dived in front of the net and reached across his body to make a glove save on a slap shot by Foligno.
“He was definitely the reason they came out of here with two points,” Foligno said.Report Typo/Error