DETROIT – Before passing Bobby Orr for the fastest start by a defenceman in the modern history of the NHL, Morgan Rielly was asked how many more mornings he might wake up co-leading the league’s scoring race with teammate Auston Matthews.

“I’m thinking about passing him,” Rielly said with a chuckle.

Then he went out and almost did it.

Rielly piled another goal and assist onto his heap of points Thursday as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3.

That put the 24-year-old into the company of Orr in the record book with 12 points in five games to start the season – one better than the Boston Bruins Hall of Famer managed in 1973. Not since Harry Cameron of the Toronto Arenas in 1917-18 has a defenceman been this prolific out of the gates.

“You kind of take it with a grain of salt a little bit,” said Rielly. “You want to keep rolling, you want to play well, but I don’t think it’s all that sustainable. We’ll see.”

No, but it accurately depicts what a circus team the Leafs have looked like in these opening days of 2018-19. They’ve piled up 25 goals while facing five teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last spring – a streak that will end Saturday when they play the defending Stanley Cup champions in Washington.

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Rielly has benefited from manning the point on a frightening top power-play unit, earning assists on six of seven goals the Leafs have scored with a man advantage so far. That included one off the stick off Matthews here in …read more



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