Toronto Maple Leafs: 3 observations from 6-3 win over Detroit

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18: Morgan Rielly
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18: Morgan Rielly /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 18: Mitchell Marner /

The Toronto Maple Leafs won again on Wednesday night, beating the Detroit Red Wings on the backs of Auston Matthews, Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly.

After one of their best performances of the early season in Washington on Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs returned home to face the Detroit Red Wings in their first back-to-back of the season.

The Leafs took care of business and beat their Atlantic Division rivals 6-3, to push their record on the season to 6-1. Let’s take a look at the biggest talking points from Wednesday’s game:

1) Marner meeting Babcock’s challenge

Mitch Marner has had a less than ideal start to his season. With only one goal and three assists in the first four games, Mike Babcock stuck Marner down on the fourth line and promoted Connor Brown to his spot on the Tyler Bozak line.

Of course, you already know this. Regardless, Marner’s play over the last two games has been solid. Although it hasn’t yielded any points, the sophomore winger looks to be returning to regular form alongside second-father Matt Martin, as well as centres Dominic Moore and Eric Fehr.

Also, it’s always fun to see Marner and Martin interact, so them sitting together on the bench is great. Case in point on Wednesday night, when the pair shared a smelling salt before the start of the second period.

Marner is still getting his regular power-play reps on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ second unit, and he has shown the same playmaking ability that has become expected of him. His backdoor pass to James van Riemsdyk in the Leafs’ last game was a thing of beauty, as is his puck handling at top speed

Mike Babcock and company should be happy to see Marner getting back to himself.

I’m of the mindset that he should be playing alongside Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau for the time being. Leo Komarov hasn’t provided much in the offensive zone on that line and Brown hasn’t given Babcock any reason for him to be outside the top six.

It will be very interesting to see the Leafs’ lines combos heading into Saturday’s game.