Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Day-after recap: Let’s just revisit how dang good Mitch Marner was yesterday

Is there anything else worth talking about in the Leafs’ world today?

Mitch Marner: five points.
Leafs: two points.
Buds: All day.

1-0 Leafs (Mitch Marner goal)

Start em off early and continue it often. After what was a long, long stretch that felt like the Leafs were giving up the first goal of the game every night, they’ve turned around the fortunes as of late. Mitch Marner sets the tone for the night by stealing a puck in front of the net and holding it on for ….just long enough. Marner’s ability to take the puck in the offensive zone and just leave Erik Karlsson standing in front of the net completely helpless… well, you can’t ask for much of a better start than that.

2-0 Leafs (Auston Matthews goal)

This is one worth watching the whole video for. Matthews completes the clean zone entry after pulling the puck up off Zach Hyman and looks for glory.

He blasts the puck wide of the net, it rims around the boards a little bit, and Wee Willie Nylander picks up the puck along the boards and plays keepaway with it for the next five seconds or so. The Senators seem a little mesmerized, and Auston runs a rugby play where he sneaks in behind Nylander and creates space for himself. Taking basically the exact same shot as he did moments earlier, he makes it count this time and that’s a 2-0 lead.

3-0 Leafs (Mitch Marner goal)

Two goals… in one period? Does this kid even tie his own skates?

It’s pretty rare you turn “winning a defensive zone faceoff” into a goal right away, but there are exceptions to every rule. Patrick Marleau makes a nice play in the neutral zone to freeze Erik Karlsson, Nazem Kadri gains the zone cleanly, passes it back to Marleau who’s now on the attack, and all he has to do is lay it off to Mitchell in the slot. Ottawa seemingly had everyone out of position on this one, including Craig Anderson, who was chased out of the net in the first period.

3-1 Leafs (Johnny Oduya goal)

Ok. Who had Johnny Oduya in the “first goal scored by the Senators” pool?

Just his third goal of the season, and it was earlier enough that it put that slight scare into a dominant first two periods.

4-1 Leafs (James van Riemsdyk goal)

While we definitely had the “was that a hat trick for Marner?” moment on this one like everyone else, it was not to be. A seemingly innocuous shot in front of the net that was going wide bounced off a pair of bodies – first JVR, then Cody Ceci and into the net. 4-1 good guys. Toronto carried the puck in the offensive zone for 33 seconds before the puck entered the net and it seemed like it was a matter of time before they added their fourth of the night. Marner point counter: three.

4-2 Leafs (Derick Brassard goal)

Dion Phaneuf, who was traded for a bunch of players who are mostly no longer part of the Leafs organization, is making $7 million this year, next year, the year after that, and the year after that.

But despite all the fun we can make of him, that trade, the Senators organization or the team’s management in general, sometimes that comes back to bite us.

Phaneuf tosses the puck wide of the net and it hits Derick Brassard, who still has one too few “r” in his name. His 14th of the season 45 seconds into the third period and we’ve suddenly got a hockey game again.

5-2 Leafs (Nazem Kadri goal)

To me, this was the quintessential Mitch Marner moment of last night’s game. Sure, there was a pair of goals he scored, and a nice/lucky assist on JVR’s goal, but this play made you think of that kid you watched so fondly back in his days in junior.

Rushing in on the forecheck to nullify the icing and beating out Phaneuf, Marner plays the puck back to Marleau, and then immediately receives it back after a little kerfuffle.

Erik Karlsson goes towards Marner, and does uh, not enough. Marner picks out Kadri, and that’s Kadri’s 18th of the season.

5-3 Leafs (Ryan Dzingel goal)

6:28 left and the Leafs only have a two goal lead to play with. Tyler Bozak makes the initial blocked shot, but Frederik Andersen is left with little time to recover. Dzingel pounces on the puck, and he becomes the second player on the Senators to hit 15 goals on the season.

6-3 Leafs (Patrick Marleau goal)

Mitch Marner again. Though the hat trick was definitely on his mind, he’s more focused on… man-handling Erik Karlsson?

There’s a case to be made for a penalty here, but like, it’s an empty-netter in a lost season for the Senators. Marleau picks up the puck, and that’s point #5 for Marner.

Erik Karlsson is mad.

The Leafs won.

Today is good.

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