Zach Aston-Reese would not thoughts if the Maple Leafs sported their inexperienced and white jerseys extra typically.
Morgan Rielly, in the meantime, appears to lastly be heating up with the post-season beckoning.
Aston-Reese scored twice and Rielly discovered the again of the web for the second time in as many video games Friday as Toronto downed the visiting Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 on an evening that noticed Luke Schenn play at Scotiabank Arena as a member of the house facet for the primary time in virtually 11 years.
“Always simple to play the remainder of the sport whenever you rating in your first shift,” mentioned Aston-Reese, who had one objective in his 23 earlier appearances. “I hoped for a 3rd, however pleased with the night time.”
Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner offered the remainder of the offence for Toronto (41-18-9), which obtained 32 saves from Ilya Samsonov. John Tavares added two assists, whereas Rielly added one other for a two-point efficiency.
“When they have been pressuring us arduous, we did our job,” Marner mentioned. “We bent a little bit bit, however did not break. We stayed to our construction.
“We obtained alternatives off it, and once we did, we did not miss.”
WATCH | Aston-Reese scores pair of targets to assist Leafs beat Hurricanes:
Aston-Reese scores twice, Leafs defeat Hurricanes
The Leafs sported their Toronto St. Pats threads — a nod to the franchise’s moniker from 1919 via 1927 — on St. Patrick’s Day.
“Like these jerseys rather a lot,” Aston-Reese mentioned with a smile.
Brady Skjei and Martin Necas replied for Carolina (44-15-8). Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 19 pictures.
“A workforce with that ability degree, you simply cannot be giving them possibilities,” Hurricanes winger Jordan Martinook mentioned. “You’ve obtained to have the ability to stick together with your recreation plan and keep tight, keep above individuals, do not let their ability guys get behind you.
“We let that occur too many occasions.”
‘The followers have at all times been nice to me’
Schenn performed his first recreation in Toronto as a Leaf in practically 4,000 days after he was reacquired from the Vancouver Canucks forward of the NHL commerce deadline.
“In one regard, sure, it looks like one other lifetime,” mentioned the 33-year-old, who was drafted fifth general by Toronto in 2008 earlier than his commerce to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012.
“In the identical breath, the whole lot simply is acquainted.”
Schenn acquired a pleasant ovation to begin the sport. He heard the outdated “Luuuuuke” chants rain down from the stands after a third-period hit on Sebastian Aho throughout a penalty kill.
“It hasn’t been clean crusing,” mentioned the defenceman from Saskatoon. “But there is no query that the followers have at all times been nice to me.”
Toronto opened the scoring early within the first interval. Aston-Reese tipped an Erik Gustafsson level shot for his sixth objective of the season earlier than Marner ripped his twenty fifth in off the publish.
Up to his outdated tips once more 🪄 <a href=”https://t.co/gJakblx8Mw”>pic.twitter.com/gJakblx8Mw</a>
Skjei obtained one again two minutes later along with his 14th on a shot that squeaked via Samsonov.
The Leafs made it 3-1 earlier than the interval was out on an influence play.
Tavares noticed his effort hit a Carolina stick and bounce in off Matthews for his thirty second — and the primary objective surrendered by Carolina’s second-ranked penalty kill in 13 video games.
The Hurricanes crept again inside a objective halfway via the second interval when Necas snapped his twenty sixth.
But Aston-Reese bagged his second of the night time on a 2-on-1 with Sam Lafferty. Aston-Reese’s two-goal efficiency was his first since October 2019 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“He’s sniper,” Samsonov deadpanned of Aston-Reese, who has by no means registered a hat trick within the NHL. “Everybody is aware of this.
“I’m so glad for him.”
Rielly then roofed his fourth — and second in as many video games — halfway via the third on one other 2-on-1 with Matthews to place issues out of attain.
“Playoff-type of recreation really feel when it comes to each groups being aware to not enable an excessive amount of offence,” mentioned Rielly, whose membership was coming off Wednesday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.
Acciari exits recreation after hit to the pinnacle
Toronto misplaced Noel Acciari late within the first when he took a blow up excessive in a collision with Jesse Puljujarvi.
The Leafs, who have been left with 10 forwards after as soon as once more dressing an additional defenceman, mentioned the veteran centre was held out for precautionary causes.
Acciari will not play Saturday, however was within the locker room with teammates post-game.
“My view of it, clearly, is it must be a penalty,” Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe mentioned. “It’s robust to lose a participant like that on a play like that.”
The Maple Leafs subsequent face the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday.