The Toronto Maple Leafs made history tonight in their 6-3 win over the Sabres in Buffalo, even if they did let their guard drop in the third period. Milestone #1: for the first time in the club’s 106-year history, three players registered three points apiece in the first period of a game, as new Leaf Ryan O’Reilly (2 goals + 1 assist), John Tavares (1+2), and Mitch Marner (0-3) went to town. O’Reilly completed his hattrick in the third period with a goal into an empty net, while Tavares added a second-period assist to his total.
Marner, meanwhile, collected five assists in all, the first time he’s done that in his sterling seven-year career as a Leaf.
Prior to that, the last Leaf to helped himself to five assists was Doug Gilmour, 26 years ago, against the Calgary Flames on January 22, 1997. Gilmour had another six-assist game against the Minnesota North Stars in February of 1993, a feat that Babe Pratt pulled off, too, against the Boston Bruins in January of 1944.
Other Leafs to have collected five assists in a game are Börje Salming (vs. Minnesota in December of 177); Babe Pratt, again (vs. Montreal Canadiens in December of 1942); and Pep Kelly (vs. Canadiens in March of 1940).
The first to do it was Syl Apps, on January 30, 1937, on a night when the Leafs flummoxed the Montreal Maroons at Maple Leaf Gardens by a score of 7-4.
Apps, 22, would end up winning the Calder Trophy that season as the NHL’s top rookie. A centreman, he had a pair of formidable wingers in Gordie Drillon (on the right) and Busher Jackson (playing left). Drillon and Jackson scored three apiece on the night, with Art Jackson, Busher’s younger brother, finishing off the scoring. Apps assisted on all three of Drillon’s goals and along with Busher Jackson’s second and third.
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