TORONTO (AP) — Patrick Marleau celebrated a milestone on Hall of Fame night.
Marleau had his 600th NHL assist, John Tavares scored his ninth goal of the season and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New Jersey Devils 6-1 on Friday night.
Nazem Kadri, Connor Brown, Andreas Johnsson, Morgan Rielly and Tyler Ennis also scored, and Frederik Andersen made 38 saves. Toronto improved to 11-5-0 with its third straight victory.
Marleau was involved in Kadri’s goal, becoming the 88th NHL player to reach the 600 assist milestone. The only other active player with 600 assists is San Jose’s Joe Thornton with 1,032.
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“It’s always nice when a milestone like that comes with a win,” Marleau said. “The guys played great tonight so it was fun.”
Asked if he remembered assist No. 1 of his career Marleau smiled and said: “Kind of.”
“I think (Andrei) Nazarov scored it,” he added, referencing the 1997-98 season.
The 39-year-old Marleau also has 538 goals.
Travis Zajac scored for New Jersey. Playing the sixth game on a seven-game trip, the Devils have won just two of their last 10 games. They are 1-5 on the trip and have been outscored 29-15.
The game was part of the lead up to the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies Monday night.
Entering the Hall are former New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur, Martin St. Louis, Alexander Yakushev and Jayna Hefford in the players’ category, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Willie O’Ree, the first black player in the NHL, in the builders category.
“It’s a club like no other,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said about the Hall of Fame.
The inductees were honored prior to the game as the Leafs and Devils starters watched from chairs on the ice.
“It’s definitely cool,” Andersen said. “It’s one of the great things about playing in the hockey capital of the world, probably, you get to see these things. You get a lot of legends of the game through these doors here. That’s extra special.”
NOTES: Devils second-line winger Jesper Bratt returned to action from a broken jaw suffered Oct. 4 in Sweden. Fourth-liner Stefan Noesen (lower body) also came off New Jersey’s injured reserve.
Devils: At Winnipeg on Sunday night.
Maple Leafs: At Boston on Saturday night.
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