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Leafs' Mitch Marner picks up stick from bench, gets immediate assist

By
Alex Butler
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (16) had to grab a stick from the bench before getting an assist against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday in Toronto. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (16) had to grab a stick from the bench before getting an assist against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday in Toronto. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner managed to get an assist immediately after picking up a stick from the bench in a win against the San Jose Sharks.

Marner pulled off the act in the first period of Toronto's 5-3 triumph on Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The Maple Leafs led 2-1 with less than 30 seconds remaining in the opening frame during the sequence.

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Toronto's defense cleared the puck from danger on its defensive end when Marner dropped his stick in transition. He dashed over toward the Maple Leafs' bench and snatched a new stick before bolting down the right flank. Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman slipped the puck over to Marner, who used his first touch to slap a pass toward the far-post.

The feed found John Tavares for a last-second goal, giving the Maple Leafs a two-goal lead heading into the bridge period.

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Marner credited assistant equipment manager Bobby Hastings with an assist for handing him the stick over the bench.

"He knew right away," Marner told reporters. "Guys were saying that the stick was already on their heads as soon as the shot hit me. It was a hell of a play by him. That's the reason that goes in."

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Tavares also scored the first goal of the game before Tomas Hertl tied it for San Jose by lighting the lamp at the 10:40 mark in the first period. Auston Matthews scored his 11th goal of the season before Tavares ended the period with his second score.

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Patrick Marleau gave the Maple Leafs a 4-1 lead 1:53 into the second period. Joe Pavelski scored San Jose's second goal a few minutes later on a power play. Matthews added his second score of the game in the third period. Melker Karlsson put in the Sharks' final tally at 18:02 mark down the stretch.

The Maple Leafs face the Minnesota Wild at 7 p.m. on Saturday in St. Paul, Minn.

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