Marner had two goals and an assist in a span of 59 seconds in the third period, including the tiebreaking goal with eight minutes left.
"Our adrenaline was pumping, heart's pumping, I'm fired up," Marner said. "The first was a great pass from [Auston] Matthews, the second was a great play by Tyson [Barrie] to find the open spot and make a move, and the third one, I jumped through and was able to pick it off and get down the ice and score. I don't think the timeout [after the second] one mattered. You're just riding the high and feel like you could play forever. I felt like a little kid out there skating around, we knew we could do the job, and it's a great team win."
[WATCH: All Hurricanes vs. Maple Leafs highlights]
John Tavares had a goal and two assists, and Matthews, Barrie and Jason Spezza each had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs (20-14-4), who have won a season-high five games in a row heading into the Christmas break. Frederik Andersen made 35 saves.
Video: CAR@TOR: Tavares snipes wrister upstairs for PPG
"Probably yeah, that was one of the craziest games I've been a part of," Andersen said. "I don't have anything that can top that, off the top of my head. I tried to stay as level as I can and worry about what I could control. The only thing I could do is try to make sure I stopped the next puck, and for a rough game, I was able to do that in the third period."
Martin Necas had two goals and two assists, and Erik Haula had two goals and an assist for the Hurricanes (22-13-2). Petr Mrazek made 27 saves after replacing James Reimer, who allowed three goals on seven shots in the first period.
Video: CAR@TOR: Haula sets up Necas' game-tying goal
"Not in a while I haven't been a part of anything like that. That was a tough game," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We didn't come out ready, it wasn't everyone, but we had a couple guys sleeping, and it cost us. Got back in and we had the game in hand, and then just fell asleep, took a little breath, and against a team with high high-end talent, you can't do that. It's another tough lesson. I would have rather lost 8-0 to be honest because we were so bad to start."
Marner scored at 11:01 of the third to cut the Hurricanes lead to 6-5, and Barrie scored off a pass from Marner to tie the game 6-6 at 11:54. Marner put Toronto up 7-6 six seconds later when he stole the puck and scored on a breakaway at 12:00.
Carolina took a timeout following Barrie's goal.
Video: CAR@TOR: Barrie backhands puck home to tie game
Pierre Engvall scored into an empty net with 1:40 left to make it 8-6.
The Hurricanes scored three times in 1:04 in the second period to take the lead. They tied it 3-3 at 15:09 after Ryan Dzingel knocked down Morgan Rielly's pass in the Maple Leafs zone and got the puck to Haula, who fed Necas for a shot past Andersen from above the right hash marks.
Haula gave Carolina a 4-3 lead at 15:29 after Necas stole Justin Holl's pass behind the net and passed to Haula in the slot.
Andrei Svechnikov tipped in a pass from Jordan Staal at 16:13 to put Carolina up 5-3.
Matthews cut the lead to 5-4 at 2:35 of the third, but Haula scored at 5:58 to put the Hurricanes back up by two, 6-4.
Video: CAR@TOR: Matthews rifles Hyman's dish past Mrazek
The Maple Leafs went up 1-0 30 seconds into the first period when Spezza put in a rebound from the slot.
William Nylander made it 2-0 at 3:40 on the power play when he took a pass from Tavares in the slot and shot between Reimer's pads.
Tavares scored at 5:10 on the power play to put Toronto up 3-0.
"I don't really know how to describe that, it was probably really entertaining for people watching but that was brutal," Haula said. "With Reimer starting who has played [for the Maple Leafs] before, and that's how we start in front of him, that was quite embarrassing."
The Hurricanes cut the lead to 3-1 at 13:49 when Brock McGinn took a pass from Brett Pesce on a 2-on-1 while shorthanded and shot past Andersen's blocker.
Necas made it 3-2 when he deflected Lucas Wallmark's shot in the slot on the power play.
Video: Clutch Performance: Marner records five points
They said it
"I would have rather lost 8-0 to be honest with you because we were so bad to start and to fight back, you're basically throwing it away unless you finish it off. Unless you win it, there's no point in coming back because now we had a couple guys who had really good games, but we had a couple guys who fell asleep in the third. In today's game, you have to have 20 guys doing it right." -- Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour
"Lots of emotions in the game from our start and we're feeling great and then it gets away from us. We start to come back in the third and we give it up again so it was a lot of emotions, but I really liked how our team stayed with it and found a way and everybody goes home happy." -- Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe
Need to know
Marner's first five-point game was Feb. 10, 2018, when he had two goals and three assists in a 6-3 win against the Ottawa Senators. ... Hurricanes defenseman Jake Gardiner faced the Maple Leafs for the first time since signing a four-year contract with Carolina as an unrestricted free agent Sept. 6. He played the first 551 games of his NHL career with Toronto. … Tavares' three points in the opening 5:10 set a Maple Leafs record for fastest three points to begin a game. It was the 10th time in his NHL career he had three points in the first period. … Maple Leafs forward Trevor Moore was a late scratch because he was ill. Keefe gave no further update.
Red Wings: At the New York Rangers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, FS-CR, NHL.TV)
Maple Leafs: At the New Jersey Devils on Friday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, MSG+, SNO, NHL.TV)
Video: Marner, Maple Leafs down Hurricanes in thriller, 8-6