If Nazem Kadri felt he had something to prove on Saturday night, he succeeded. A pair of spectacular assists from the Leafs centre played an obvious role in the team’s 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens, bringing a different type of noise to Kadri’s week. Almost out of nowhere, the buzz around the team was that Kadri was being aggressively shopped as trade bait, a notion general manager Dave Nonis put to rest. But as often seems to be the case, when the attention surrounds him, Kadri delivers on cue, which he did Saturday as the most dynamic offensive player on the ice. “That was a statement game for our team,” Kadri said. “It’s the Montreal Canadiens. The rivalry speaks for itself.” Kadri certainly came out determined to make a point, dropping Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov with a big hit on the game’s opening shift. Moments later, he also had a big play on the game’s opening goal when he undressed Habs defenceman Alexei Emelin just inside the Montreal blueline and fed defenceman Cody Franson for the tap-in opening goal. On Mason Raymond’s power-play score that gave the Leafs a 3-1 lead in the second period, a half-slap, half pass fooled most of the Habs as the Toronto forward buried the opportunity. Leafs coach Randy Carlyle was clearly pleased with the effort, emphasizing that Kadri’s development is a work in progress. “I would say that we’ve been patient with (Kadri),” Carlyle said. “We’ve been trying to work with him, not against him. We want consistency from him.” Nothing ever comes quietly for the flamboyant Kadri, it seems.
Maple Leafs' Kadri plays big against Canadiens
Toronto Sun | Jan 19