The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot going on right now, and quite a bit of it is no good.
Auston Matthews‘ bad injury luck continues. The William Nylander contract impasse is dragging on far longer than most of us expected.
Good thing the Maple Leafs won The John Tavares Sweepstakes, then, right?
Thursday presented the latest example of that free-agent gift that keeps giving, as Tavares and the Maple Leafs beat the San Jose Sharks 5-3 in a game that was frequently filling. For some, it was a reminder that Tavares’ transition has been seamless compared to Erik Karlsson‘s growing pains with the Sharks. Such comparisons feel petty, really, when you consider just how joyous Tavares’ run has been so far with the team he rooted for (and slept on bedsheets for) as a child.
Consider that Matthews has last played on Oct. 27. Since then, Tavares has really embraced his role as the clear go-to guy for the Maple Leafs. While he was unable to generate a point in Toronto’s flat loss to the Flames in the first game following Matthews’ injury, Tavares has been trading off being electric and automatic since then.
The talented center managed to generate a point in every November game so far (five goals and five assists for 10 points). Tavares’ goal from Thursday also extended his goal streak to four games.
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer provided praise heading into that Leafs – Sharks game that ended up being prophetic.