Marner scores twice in wild rally, Leafs top Canes 8-6

Toronto Maple Leafs centre John Tavares (91) looks for a rebound in front of Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek (34) during second period NHL hockey action in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
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TORONTO (AP) — Mitch Marner scored twice and added an assist in a wild 59-second span midway through the third period, and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Carolina Hurricanes 8-6 on Monday.

Marner scored at 11:01 and assisted on Tyson Barrie’s game-tying goal at 11:54. A Carolina timeout didn’t stop the momentum as Marner scored 6 seconds later to put Toronto ahead for good.

Pierre Engvall sealed the victory with an empty-netter. Marner, who had three assists, recorded a game-high five points.

Jason Spezza, William Nylander, Auston Matthews and John Tavares also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won five straight.

Martin Necas and Erik Haula had two goals apiece for the Hurricanes, while Brock McGinn and Andrei Svechnikov also scored.

Toronto scored three times before the game was six minutes old, but the Hurricanes responded by scoring five straight goals to lead 5-3 after 40 minutes.

Toronto attacked from the start and was rewarded when Spezza scored 30 seconds into the game. Tavares fed the puck in front of the net and when Brett Pesce couldn’t clear it, Spezza chipped it in on the backhand.

Pesce’s tough period continued moments later when he got the stick up on Toronto forward Zach Hyman. The Maple Leafs took advantage with two goals on the ensuing double-minor penalty.

Nylander was left alone in the slot and he wired a wrist shot past Reimer at 3:40. The Toronto power-play unit clicked again at 5:10 when Spezza fed Tavares by the side of the net and he roofed it to make it 3-0.

Former Leafs goalie James Reimer was yanked after giving up three goals on seven shots. He was replaced by Petr Mrazek, and the Hurricanes seemed to feed off the change.

McGinn had a short-handed goal at 13:49, and Necas added a power-play marker at 19:35 with a redirect of Lucas Wallmark’s point shot.

Carolina continued to press early in the second period. Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen made a couple of impressive stops as chants of “Fred-dy! Fred-dy!” thundered down.

The crowd was silenced later as the Hurricanes struck for three goals in a 64-second span. A brutal giveaway by Morgan Rielly led to Necas’ game-tying goal at 15:09.

Necas assisted on Haula’s goal 20 seconds later, and Svechnikov made it 5-3 at 16:13.

Early in the third period, Hyman found Matthews by the faceoff circle and the Toronto sniper buried a one-timer at 2:35 to cut the deficit. Haula responded with a one-timer of his own at 5:58.

Matthews made a highlight-reel cross-ice pass to set up Marner’s first goal. Engvall’s empty-netter came at 18:20.

Carolina outshot Toronto 41-39.

Former Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner, now with the Hurricanes, received a nice ovation after a video tribute was played early in the first period. Gardiner was making his return after spending eight seasons in Toronto.

NOTES: Canadian PGA Tour player Corey Conners was in attendance. ... Tavares had three points in a period for the 10th time in his career. His personal best was a four-point effort for the New York Islanders against Tampa Bay in 2011. ... Marner extended his point streak to eight games.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: At the New York Rangers on Friday.

Maple Leafs: At New Jersey on Friday.