TORONTO — Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist to reach 500 career points as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Saturday night.
John Tavares had two goals and Pontus Holmberg also scored for Toronto, which snapped a two-game skid with its first win of the month.
Marner hit the 500-point mark in his 467th career game, just four days after Auston Matthews accomplished the feat. Matthews is the fastest player in franchise history to do it, accomplishing it in 445 games.
“It’s just a cool moment, for sure,” Marner said. “You definitely don’t try and really think about setting milestones or doing milestones and trying not (to) be selfish about yourself.”
Earlier in the season, Marner set the franchise record with a 23-game point streak.
“Growing up here in the city and dreaming to play for this team and doing it all with this team, it’s been special, it’s been a lot of fun but there’s bigger goals ahead,” Marner said. “It’s cool, enjoying the moment, but time to refresh and think about (next opponent) Philly now.”
Ilya Samsonov made 22 saves in a bounce-back effort after surrendering five goals in a 6-5 shootout loss to St. Louis on Tuesday.
“I think it’s noteworthy just the job Sammy did tonight,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We’ve been needing our whole team to play better. … But Sammy, the last three games in particular, he and (goaltending coach) Curtis Sanford have put in some real work.”
Jake Walman scored for Detroit in its third straight loss. Magnus Hellberg finished with 25 saves.
“Unfortunately, a fairly similar theme. Five-on-five play, good,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “Unfortunately, we lost the special teams battle tonight.”
Tavares capped a run of four consecutive goals for Toronto with an empty-netter with 1:39 remaining. It was his 18th of the season.
Olli Maata sent a laser of a pass from the end boards to spring Walman on a breakaway midway through the first period. Walman beat Samsonov top corner to open the scoring with 8:03 left in the opening period.
Marner tied it 24 seconds into the second with a sharp-angled goal on a rebound from Matthews’ point shot that went wide and off the boards behind the net. It gave Marner his milestone and Matthews was credited with an assist, allowing both players to extend their point streaks to four games.
Tavares scored the go-ahead goal 6:37 into the second when Calle Jarnkrok found him streaking down the middle of Detroit’s zone between two defenders.
“We just talked about upping our pace, really and just some of the execution coming out of our own end,” Tavares said of the team’s turnaround after a slow start. “I think we were just much quicker coming out of our own end, moving the puck a little faster and that allowed our feet to get moving, get on the forecheck and tilt the ice a little bit.”
Holmberg gave the Leafs a two-goal advantage when he tipped in Morgan Rielly‘s point shot 6:19 into the third for his fourth.
“Pretty good first period, we didn’t give up much,” Lalonde said. “Didn’t really hate our second, looks like we lost a little bit of gas. . Come out of that period down 2-1, and then we didn’t have enough for a push in the third.”
Five members of Canada’s gold-medal winning world junior team were honored just past the midway mark of the first period. Brennan Othmann, Ethan del Mastro, Owen Beck, Shane Wright and Zack Ostapchuk were given a standing ovation from the Scotiabank Arena crowd when shown on the video board.
Saturday’s contest was Toronto’s first Indigenous Celebration game. Players wore warm-up jerseys designed by Indigenous artist Tyler Rushnell. The jerseys will be up for auction on Real Sports Auction with all of the proceeds to be donated to the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. There were also performances from the Toronto Council Fire Native All Nations Juniors drum group as Leafs players were introduced and a hoop dance routine during the second intermission.
Red Wings: Host Winnipeg on Tuesday night to open a three-game homestand.
Maple Leafs: At Philadelphia on Sunday night.