EDMONTON — Patrick Marleau earned one of the easiest goals of his career on Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
Marleau was credited with the winner in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 6-4 victory over Edmonton after Oilers defenceman Kris Russell blasted the puck into his own net while trying to clear it with just over a minute remaining in the third period.
"I'm feeling for him (Russell) right now," Toronto forward Nazem Kadri said. "They did a great job, they earned themselves at least a point in that one and came up a little bit short. Tough bounce, but that's the way it's going for us right now, we continued that."
Russell could do little more than shake his head after the game.
"It was a bounce. I turned to try and battle it out and obviously you know what happened," he said. "I thought we came back and played well, but I'm pretty frustrated with the way it ended.
"I don't know what you want me to say. You know what happened at the end."
William Nylander led the Maple Leafs (17-9-1) with a goal and two assists. Auston Matthews, Dominic Moore, Matt Martin and Kadri, into an empty net, also scored for Toronto.
Frederik Andersen stopped 41 shots for the win in net.
Mark Letestu, Zack Kassian, Connor McDavid and Russell replied for the Oilers (10-14-2), who had a two-game winning streak snapped.
"It was obviously an unfortunate way to end it," McDavid said of the gift goal. "I think everyone would have wanted overtime, it would have been entertaining. It's just the way it goes."
Laurent Brossoit got the start in place of Cam Talbot, who is expected to miss at least the next two weeks with injury. Brossoit made 30 saves.
The Leafs scored on their first shot of the game, 2:15 into the contest, as Nylander made a great feed on the power play to set up Matthews for his 13th goal of the season.
Toronto took a 2-0 lead six minutes into the opening period when Moore beat Brossoit to the stick side with a wrist shot.
The Oilers appeared to get back into the game with seven minutes left in the first on a goal by Letestu, but the Leafs responded just 29 seconds later as a turnover at the blue line led to Martin being left alone at the side of the net to score his second of the year.
Edmonton made it a one-goal game again 6 1/2 minutes into the second period as Jujhar Khaira made a nice backhand feed from behind the net to Kassian, who scored his second of the season and second goal in as many games.
The Oilers tied the game up late in the second period as McDavid tipped a Russell point shot past Andersen.
Toronto moved back in front less than a minute later, however, on a power play goal by Nylander.
Edmonton knotted it up again three minutes into the third as Russell scored on a blast from the point.
"That was a good game, it was fun," Nylander said. "Two great fanbases in a great building, a good high-scoring game, it's cool to be a part of those games. There was a lot going on."
Both teams are back on the ice on Saturday, with the Maple Leafs heading to Vancouver and the Oilers in Calgary to face the Flames.
Notes: Oilers defenceman Adam Larsson was a surprise scratch after taking the pre-game warm-up. It was later announced that he has an upper-body injury.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press