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game recap

Marner has two goals, assist in Maple Leafs win against Blue Jackets

Atkinson scores in sixth straight season-opening game for Columbus, ties NHL record

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Marner's PPG opens the scoring

TOR@CBJ: Marner fires home wrister for PPG

John Tavares sets up Mitch Marner, who rips a wrist shot from the circle into twine, giving the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead on the power play

  • 00:55 •

COLUMBUS -- Mitchell Marner had two goals and an assist, and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 at Nationwide Arena on Friday.

Cody Ceci and Auston Matthews scored, Morgan Rielly had three assists, and Frederik Andersen made 28 saves for the Maple Leafs, who won their season opener 5-3 against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

"Our puck movement was good," Marner said. "On breakouts, we didn't rush it, we took our time and regrouped. When they got their rushes, we were coming back as a unit. That's what we need to do."

 

[WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets highlights]

 

Cam Atkinson tied an NHL record by scoring in his sixth straight season opener, and Joonas Korpisalo made 25 saves for the Blue Jackets.

The Maple Leafs went 2-for-5 on the power play. Columbus was 1-for-5.

"You can't take five penalties," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "But they took five also. I thought the important part of the game was we had opportunities to finish at really key times, to maybe change the momentum, and we didn't.

"I have to watch the video, but I thought we had some good minutes through the game. But we don't score at key times, they do and the game's over."

Video: TOR@CBJ: Marner scores second from the doorstep

Marner scored eight seconds into Toronto's first power play, at 12:04 of the first period, for a 1-0 lead. The Maple Leafs won the face-off and Rielly at the left point passed to the middle to John Tavares, who sent the puck to the left circle for a one-timer by Marner.

"That's what I worked a lot on this summer, getting the puck in my hands and getting the shot off quicker, not holding onto it and making pretty plays," Marner said. 

Ceci made it 2-0 at 10:35 of the second period. Rielly set up the goal with his cross-ice pass to Ceci for his shot from the top of the right circle that eluded Korpisalo because of a screen by Andreas Johnsson.

Atkinson scored a power-play goal at 14:11 to make it 2-1. He shares the record with Mud Bruneteau of the Detroit Red Wings (1940-45) and Yvan Cournoyer of the Montreal Canadiens (1973-78).

"The first period our full team was trying to get our legs under us," Atkinson said. "I thought 5-on-5 we started taking over the second half of the game, but it was a special-teams game for sure."

Marner extended the lead to 3-1 at 2:16 of the third during 4-on-4 play by putting a move on Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski to create space on the left side before shooting from the low slot. The puck went behind Korpisalo and he kicked it into his net with his left skate.

"I tried to throw it in the pile, tried to go five-hole," Marner said. "It hit the post, or whatever, and kind of hit his foot and went in."

Matthews' third goal of the season, on the power play at 14:04, made it 4-1.

Video: TOR@CBJ: Matthews beats Korpisalo for PPG

 

They said it

"I thought we were playing pretty good when we went up 2-0, got hurried and turned the puck over a number of times and they got some momentum, but we got ourselves reset in between the second and third and came out and played well." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock

"Toronto was a great team last year. They're a great team this year. It shows the speed we've got to play with. It's only going to get faster from here. It's just the first game of the season for us. We'll get that feel back as a team and ramp it up." -- Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones

 

Need to know

Rielly has four assists and Tavares has three assists in two games. … Forward Jason Spezza, a July 1 free-agent signing, made his Maple Leafs debut after being a healthy scratch against the Senators. He had two shots in 10:36. … Forward Gustav Nyquist, who signed a four-year contract July 1, played 12:38 in his Blue Jackets debut. … Blue Jackets forwards Emil Bemstrom and Jakob Lilja made their NHL debut. … Columbus has a power-play goal in eight straight season openers. 

 

What's next

Maple Leafs: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, TVAS, NHL.TV)

Blue Jackets: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-PT, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Video: Marner leads Maple Leafs to 4-1 win vs. Blue Jackets

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