TORONTO - Zach Aston-Reese scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 on Friday night.

Morgan Rielly, with a goal and an assist, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner provided the rest of the offence for Toronto (41-18-9), which got 32 saves from Ilya Samsonov. John Tavares added two assists.

Brady Skjei and Martin Necas replied for Carolina (44-15-8). Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 19 shots.

Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn played his first game at Scotiabank Arena as a member of the organization in nearly 4,000 days after he was reacquired from the Vancouver Canucks ahead of the NHL trade deadline.

The 33-year-old was selected fifth overall by Toronto in the 2008 draft.

Schenn was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for James van Riemsdyk in 2012.

The Leafs sported their green and white Toronto St. Pats jerseys - a nod to the franchise's moniker from 1919 through 1927 - on St. Patrick's Day.

Toronto opened the scoring early in the first period when Aston-Reese tipped an Erik Gustafsson point shot for his sixth goal of the season.

Marner made it 2-0 when he stepped around Necas and ripped home his 25th off the post.

Skjei got one back for the visitors two minutes later when he fired his 14th on a shot that squeaked through Samsonov.

The Leafs made it 3-1 later in the period on a power play when Tavares saw his effort hit a Carolina stick and bounce in off Matthews for his 32nd - the first goal surrendered by Carolina's second-ranked penalty kill in 13 games.

The Hurricanes crept back within one midway through the second period when Necas snapped his 26th past Samsonov.

But Aston-Reese, who entered with one goal in his last 23 games, bagged his second of the night on a 2-on-1 with Sam Lafferty off a Carolina turnover in the neutral zone for his first two-goal performance since Oct. 13, 2019, when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Rielly then roofed his fourth of the season, and second in as many games, midway through the third to put things out of reach.

Schenn had his best shift of the night on a penalty kill late in the third period when he delivered hard check on Sebastian Aho along the boards.


Toronto lost centre Noel Acciari late in the first period when he took a blow up high in a collision with Carolina's Jesse Puljujarvi.

The Leafs, who were left with 10 forwards after once again dressing an extra defenceman, said the veteran forward was held out for precautionary reasons.


Marner's goal gave him at least a point in 58 of Toronto's 68 games this season.

The only player held off the scoresheet fewer times is Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid, who's been blanked in just seven contests.


Gustafsson's assist was his first point with the Leafs since his acquisition from the Washington Capitals late last month for fellow defenceman Rasmus Sandin.


The Hurricanes played their second game minus Andrei Svechnikov.

The star forward had 23 goals and 55 points in 64 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury last Saturday.

“Big loss,” Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour said a couple hours before puck drop. “But no one's gonna feel sorry for you ... gotta find a way.”


Acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks along with Lafferty before the deadline, Leafs defenceman Jake McCabe was still living in a hotel, but hopes to be settled into a house with his family following Toronto's upcoming road trip.

“The hockey playing is the easy part of this transition,” he said Friday morning. “It's what I know, it's my job ... that's what I focus my energy towards.”

The time spent away from his wife, Gaby, and their two young children is the tough part.

“Thank god for FaceTime,” McCabe said.


Leafs: Visit Ottawa on Saturday.

Hurricanes: Visit Philadelphia on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2023.