Plugged into a matchup role since the start of last season, Morgan Rielly isn't focused much on points. Still, he was able to show off his scoring touch in the Toronto Maple Leafs' latest win.
Rielly had a goal and a career-high three assists, Zach Hyman had the go-ahead score in Toronto's four-goal third period to lead the Maple Leafs to 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Hall of Fame game Friday night.
"I've really not been thinking about that at all," Rielly said of point production. "I've just been trying to play my role which is matchups. I haven't really been thinking about points or the power play ... When it comes to that kind of stuff you just want to win the game, you just want to do whatever you can to help the team. It's not about how many (points) you had at the end of the night or the end of the year."
Rielly led all Maple Leafs defensemen with a career-high 36 points last season, and is again topping the group with 10 points in 14 games thus far in his fourth NHL season.
Martin Marincin, Leo Komarov, Nazem Kadri and Mitch Marner also scored for Toronto. Frederik Anderson stopped 30 shots to help the Maple Leafs bounce back from a 7-0 loss to Los Angeles earlier in the week and improve to 5-2-0 at home.
In addition to Rielly's notable responsibilities on the ice, Toronto coach Mike Babcock also designated the 22-year-old as the youngest of the Leafs' four alternate captains.
"Well I think he's a big part of the next wave," Babcock said Friday morning. "I think he's a real good kid with tons of energy."
Rielly says he's had to slightly adjust his scope with the current duties he's been assigned.
"But it's one that I've welcomed and tried to embrace," he said. "The only way you're going to be good at it is if you embrace it and you try to improve at it."
Wayne Simmonds scored twice and Travis Konecny also had a goal for the Flyers. Steve Mason finished with 17 saves.
Trailing 3-2 after two periods, the Leafs were full of jump in the third. Marincin tied it at 4:03 as he stepped into a slap shot from the point on a pass from Rielly for his first goal of the season.
Hyman put Toronto ahead for good about 4 1/2 minutes later, shoveling in the rebound of Auston Matthews' shot off the cross bar for his first NHL goal. Matthews came in with just one point in his previous seven games.
Komarov's unassisted backhander made it 5-3 with about 8 1/2 minutes remaining, and Marner capped the scoring with a snap shot with 3:43 to go.
Kadri got the first goal of a busy first period, eluding Michael Del Zotto before beating Mason with a deke and goal just 2:54 in. It was the seventh already this season for the 26 year old, a considerable shift from the way last season went — Kadri didn't get his seventh goal then until his 37th game of the year on Jan. 2.
The Flyers quickly tied it just over a minute later as Simmonds redirected Claude Giroux's shot past Andersen on a power play.
Konecny followed up 27 seconds after that with the fourth goal of his impressive rookie season. The 19 year old from London, Ontario, shook off defenseman Connor Carrick for control of a long lofting pass from teammate Radko Gudas and then flipped a backhand over the right pad of Andersen.
With a 5-on-3 advantage late in the period, Toronto tied it on Rielly's first goal this year. Misfiring on a one-timer seconds before, Rielly slid around one Flyers defender in the slot and then whipped a shot far side past Mason.
Both Mason and Andersen entered the night with sub-.900 save percentages.
Toronto was looking for redemption after the blowout loss to the Kings on Tuesday night. Babcock called it an "embarrassing" performance and he likely wouldn't have been pleased with his team's second period against the Flyers. They were outshot 13-3 more than 15 minutes into the period while yielding a short-handed goal to Simmonds.
Lacking much pep offensively, too, Babcock mixed up his line combinations, trying a little bit of everything. Rookie William Nylander, who started the game with Matthews, saw time with both Kadri and Tyler Bozak. Connor Brown, meanwhile, stepped onto a line with Matthews and Hyman.
NOTES: The 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, which included one-time Maple Leafs player Eric Lindros, were honored before the game. ... After leading Toronto defensemen with a career-high 36 points last season, Rielly is pacing the group again with 10 points in 14 games this season.
Flyers: Host Minnesota on Saturday night in the opener of a four-game homestand.
Maple Leafs: At Pittsburgh on Saturday night.