CALGARY – A full complement of newcomers in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup Thursday in a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames had Mitch Marner feeling pleased with the arrivals.
Toronto has acquired half a dozen players in trades since Feb. 17 ahead of Friday’s trade deadline.
“We’re excited about the guys we brought in,” Marner said. “Some big men who want to help this team achieve great things.
“It was great tonight that everyone dug in. Just needed a little from everyone and everyone gave it.”
Calle Jarnkrok scored the game winner early in the third period and Marner also scored for Toronto (38-16-8).
Blake Coleman scored the lone goal for Calgary (27-22-13), which dropped to 3-4-3 in its last 10 games.
With 20 games to go, and the Nashville Predators on their heels one point behind, the Flames chased the Winnipeg Jets holding down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot five points ahead.
Toronto is in a less precarious position ranked second in the Atlantic Division.
Backup Joseph Woll stopped 25 shots in his third start for the Leafs, who played their second game in as many nights following a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
Jacob Markstrom has been under the microscope in Calgary, but the Swede gave the Flames the goaltending they needed to win the game with 32 saves.
Denying William Nylander on a breakaway with less than a minute left in the second period kept the game deadlocked 1-1 heading into the third period.
“I thought he was our best player,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said.
After falling 4-3 in overtime to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, the Flames lost another one-goal game to extend their skid to four straight losses.
“Tough loss. Close again, but it’s been this way too many times,” Markstrom said. “It’s frustrating to not get away with any points.
“You don’t need to win out, but it’s pretty close now. We can’t just think we’re going to win 10 in a row, or 15 in a row. We’ve got to start with one.”
Jarnkrok scored the go-ahead goal at 2:20 of the third period.
Markstrom made the initial save on an all-alone Morgan Rielly, but Rielly tapped the puck back to the net for Jarnkrok to tuck under the sprawled goaltender’s glove just before the net was dislodged.
Marner pulled the Leafs even 1-1 at 7:36 of the second period.
Calgary’s Nazem Kadri scored two minutes later, while Marner served a high-sticking minor.
The power-play goal was successfully challenged for offside, however, by Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe.
After corralling the puck at the top of the zone, Marner zigzagged through the slot and beat Markstrom’s glove for his 11th point in his last five games.
“Tried to kind of get going downhill with speed, make a move, make another move,” Marner said.
Auston Matthews’s assist on Marner’s goal was his fourth point in three games.
Toronto outshot the Flames 10-7 in the opening period on the strength of a pair of power-play chances, but the team that leads the NHL in first-period goals (67) trailed 1-0.
With the Flames serving a too-many-men minor, Coleman scored short-handed at 2:32 of the first period for his second goal in as many games.
Coleman got the jump on Erik Gustafsson, who didn’t corral the puck at the blue line, for a breakaway to beat Woll low stick side.
Defencemen Luke Schenn and Gustafsson suited up for Toronto in their first games since they were acquired this week in trades with Vancouver and Washington, respectively.
Schenn delivered four hits and blocked two shots.
“We all know he’s a big man, but he was throwing that body around,” Marner said. “He was hard to play against and I don’t think many guys like that.”
Centres Sam Lafferty, Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari and defenceman Jake McCabe are the other new Maple Leafs.
The Flames cap a three-game homestand Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.
Toronto continues west to face the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2023.
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