Sports Marleau fills in for Matthews in win over Wild

08:36  09 november  2017
08:36  09 november  2017 Source:   Toronto Star

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fill the void without Auston Matthews , the names you might have expected to rise to the forefront were Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau . The three, it turned out, were instrumental in Toronto’s 4-2 win Wednesday night over the Minnesota Wild . Though it was the Leafs’ second win in

Frederik Andersen, right, turned aside 35 of 37 shots to lift the Maple Leafs to a 4-2 win over Minnesota on Wednesday.© Frank Gunn Frederik Andersen, right, turned aside 35 of 37 shots to lift the Maple Leafs to a 4-2 win over Minnesota on Wednesday.

When it came to looking around the Maple Leafs dressing room to see who might fill the void, Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock turned to his trusted veteran, Patrick Marleau.

The Maple Leafs signed Marleau to be a winger, but with Matthews missing his first game due to an undisclosed upper body injury — widely believed to be a back injury — the speedy 38-year-old was inserted on the top line with Zach Hyman and Connor Brown.

Marleau and Brown both scored, and the Leafs skated off with a 4-2 Wednesday night over the Minnesota Wild.

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Patrick Marleau scored his 99th career game- winning goal on. "Theyre a very skilled team, theyre one of the top teams in the league, really dynamic up front," Senators centre Derick Brassard said of the Maple Leafs and star forwards including Auston Matthews , Mitch Marner, Patrick Marleau and James

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One second-period shift in particular stood out. Marleau came from behind to beat two Minnesota defenders to prevent an icing, retreated on a solid backcheck, then joined the rush to finish off a play with the 514th goal of his career after Hyman gained the zone

“It’s a good example to all of us,” Babcock saod. “A good example for all of us. You’re 38 years old and you can work that hard and do things right. I don’t want him to play in the middle a lot. You play in the middle, it’s a lot of work (skating) 200 feet all the time.

“Right now we need him and I thought he stepped up real good.”

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Hyman, who has played with Matthews for most of his young career, was duly impressed with Marleau.

“He’s not really old, he’s got a lot of energy,” Hyman said. “A guy that scored over 500 goals beating out an icing shows you what a pro should do and how you should play.

“Any time you get a chance to play with a player with that much experience, you learn a lot of things. Patty’s great, whether he plays centre or wing.”

Though it was the Leafs’ second win in a row, it won’t do much to allay concerns about their style of play. They’ve beaten two tired Western Conference road teams in the midst of long trips east. This win wasn’t pretty. There were plenty of turnovers and plenty of mistakes.

Minnesota held the better of the play, and Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen was full value for his saves.

Morgan Rielly set up the first goal by Nazem Kadri, a terrific shot that bounced off the backboards. Marleau scored the second goal. Connor Carrick also scored for the Leafs.

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Hellebuyck, Jets continue roll with win against Wild . "We've been turning the puck over too much," Matthews said. "We stop that, we can win . McDavid, Crosby set to clash for second time in just over a week. 2:15. Marleau shifts to centre as Babcock shakes things up.

It made Rielly seem almost like a prophet with is pre-game prediction. “We’ll deal with it,” Rielly said of missing Matthews. “We have guys who can jump in and play. Our depth is a proud point for this team.”

Carrick scored what turned out to be the winner, but only because he took a careless penalty toward the end of the third period. Jason Zucker got his second of the game on the power play as the Wild gained some life and led to a crazy finish. Brown’s empty netter secured the win.

Carrick was upset with himself for his needless roughing penalty and the power-play goal that took the potential winning goal away from Marleau.

“I liked the way I was playing, but (that was) a horrible penalty I took. I owe an apology,” Carrick said. “Horrible decision.”

Minnesota’s rally backed up what Babcock had said before the game.

“One second you have breathing room, then you take your foot off the gas and the next thing you know you don’t have any breathing room,” Babcock said. “That’s how I think it’s going to be for teams like us right to the end. I think each and every year right now, that’s how the league is set up and it’s exciting for fans, not as exciting for the coach. I’d like to know we’re in the playoffs about Game 20, but it’s not like that.”

The Leafs are certainly in OK shape, now 10-7-0. And when Andersen is on, they have a chance to outscore their mistakes. Certainly, on a night without Matthews, their other best players were indeed their best players.

Matthews’ absence had an effect throughout the lines. Marleau played centre between Zach Hyman and Brown, while William Nylander moved to the right wing with Leo Komarov and Kadri. Josh Leivo moved back into the lineup, on the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Matt Martin.

The only familiar line was one that was reunited for the occasion: Tyler Bozak with James van Riemsdyk and Mitch Marner.

Auston Matthews returns to practice as Leafs prepare for Devils .
Auston Matthews took to the ice to practice with the Maple Leafs for the first time in more than a week.Matthews, out with an undisclosed upper body injury, resumed his spot as the No. 1 centre between William Nylander and Zach Hyman.The Maple Leafs have won their last four in a row, the last three without Matthews. He missed the first game of his career Nov. 8 against Minnesota.Nikita Soshnikov was also on the ice practising with the Leafs for the first time this season. He was recalled from the minors on Tuesday, in time to meet a contract-related deadline.

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