Forward Mitch Marner says he and Auston Matthews continually push each other and the Toronto Maple Leafs are reaping the rewards.
The Leafs, 9/1 to win the Stanley Cup, had a hat-trick and an assist from Matthews and a goal and two assists from Marner to thank for a 6-2 victory over the reigning Stanley Cup Champions Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.
Matthews leads the NHL for a second season in a row with 54 goals which ties Rich Vaive for most in a season in Leafs history (set in 1981/82). Marner has played a significant role in Matthews’ sensational goal-scoring form with 56 points in his past 30 games.
His production is the best in the NHL since January 1st and is the most points accrued by a Toronto player in a 30-game span, beating Doug Gilmour’s 55 In 1992-93.
Matthews has 92 points this season (54 goals, 38 assists) in 64 games, Marner has 84 points (29 goals, 55 assists) in 60 games helping the Leafs to a 45-19-5 record and second place in the Atlantic Division.
The Leafs are on a five-game winning streak that includes victories over division-rivals the Florida Panthers, the Lightning and the Boston Bruins.
Marner said to the media about his partnership with Matthews: "Obviously, we just want to try and do the best we can every night, try and go out there to get our team wins and give ourselves the best chance of going into these play-offs.
"We've been through a lot together. We just kind of try to push each other every day and it's great seeing the effects show."