Odds are this was never going to be a one-superstar series for the Toronto Maple Leafs. That became even truer after they dropped their first two playoff games to the Boston Bruins.

And while Auston Matthews scored the decisive marker in the Game 3 contest that restored hope in Toronto — a 4-2 win over the Bruins at Air Canada Centre — Mitch Marner continues to show he’s going to be absolutely integral to any plans this team has for the spring.

On a night his unit was tasked with going head-to-head versus Boston’s big line of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, Marner was his usual playmaking, puck-tracking self. Skating beside his third centre in as many games — Nazem Kadri in the opener, Patrick Marleau in Game 2 and Tomas Plekanec on Monday — Marner came through with a pair of helpers on goals deposited by left-winger Marleau.

The first one put Toronto 2-1 up, 3:49 into the middle frame and came just 43 seconds after the Bruins had pulled even. Demonstrating precisely what the team knew it had to do to crawl back in the series — namely, use its wicked-fast speed — Marner blasted up the right side of the ice and took a hard feed from defenceman Morgan Rielly that squeezed between the skates of Bruins defenceman Kevan Miller before it was settled by No. 16’s blade.

With Torey Krug pestering a streaking Marleau, Marner laid a perfect cross-crease pass to his teammate, allowing Marleau to tap the puck home. Behind the Bruins goal, Marner pumped his hands a couple times, let out a serious scream and jumped into Marleau’s arms.

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Source:: Sportsnet.ca


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