Tyler Ennis netted his first career hat trick, Zach Hyman scored a pair and Mitch Marner added another as the Leafs scorched the Flames 6-2 Monday night in Calgary.
IN FIRST GAME OF CANADIAN ROAD TRIP, LEAFS LOOK DOMINANT IN OPENING FRAME AGAINST FLAMES
The Maple Leafs were playing the first game in a three-game Western Canadian road trip, and there wasn't going to be a better test than the Flames, who are 20-6-5 at home and are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games. But despite a first period in which Calgary outshot Toronto 12-11, it was the Leafs who stormed out to a three-goal advantage by the end of the opening frame.
The Buds opened the scoring midway through the first when winger Tyler Ennis notched his 10th goal of the season on the only power play of the first 20 minutes:
Video: TOR@CGY: Ennis roofs crafty top-shelf power-play goal
Ennis' goal, at 9:50 of the first, was his third in his past five games. But it wasn't the lone goal of the first - or the lone goal for Ennis in the first: he put Toronto ahead 2-0 at the 17:15 mark:
Video: TOR@CGY: Ennis scores second goal off defender
One minute and 36 seconds after Ennis gave the visitors a two-goal lead, Toronto struck again: winger Mitch Marner's breakaway shot was stopped by Flames goaltender David Rittich, but winger Zach Hyman rushed toward the net to follow up, and the puck went off his skates and across the goal line for Hyman's 15th goal of the season - and his fifth goal in his past eight games:
Video: TOR@CGY: Hyman cleans up big rebound in front
The Leafs took a 3-0 advantage into the second period, and though they needed netminder Frederik Andersen to be sharp - he robbed Calgary forward Austin Czarnik three times in the opening period - the Buds deserved credit for capitalizing in the offensive zone and giving themselves breathing room.
HYMAN ADDS TO TORONTO'S ADVANTAGE BEFORE FLAMES GET ON SCORESHEET LATE IN SECOND
Hyman and Marner had a notable chemistry Monday, and the duo hooked up at 4:11 of the second frame to give the Leafs a 4-0 lead:
Video: TOR@CGY: Hyman buries Marner's feed for his second
Hyman's second goal of the game set a new career high in regular-season goals for him, giving him 16 in his third full NHL season. And Marner's assist on Hyman's second goal gave Marner 80 points thus far this year.
Toronto's offensive explosion of late has helped boost individual numbers for players, but the most important thing is the ease it puts everyone in. And though Calgary outshot the Buds 9-4 in the first half of the second period - and finally got their first of the game at the 15:35 mark, when forward Johnny Gaudreau scored on the power play for his 31st of the year - the Leafs were the team that were in control of the contest heading into the third.
ENNIS COMPLETES HAT TRICK WITH GOAL EARLY IN THIRD; LEAFS HOLD STRONG, WIN SECOND STRAIGHT
The Leafs didn't take their collective foot off the gas in the third, and Ennis led the way by scoring his third goal off the night and the first hat trick of his NHL career at 3:15 of the frame:
Video: TOR@CGY: Ennis goes five-hole to notch the hat trick
Calgary did wind up scoring again - a Derek Ryan goal a 12:24 of the third - but 32 seconds later, Marner scored his 24th of the year to reestablish Toronto's four-goal lead. Both he and linemate Tavares (who assisted on Marner's goal) finished the contest with a three-point game, and Monday's effort marked Marner's 10th game this year in which he had at leas three points.
Video: TOR@CGY: Marner rips goal from circle after face-off
The Buds now head to Vancouver to battle the Canucks Wednesday, then finish off the road swing Saturday in Edmonton against the Oilers. They won't all come as (relatively) straightforward as this game, but Toronto earned their two standings points (improving their record to 41-21-4) and their offence looks as deep, balanced and dangerous as ever this year.