Matthews, Kadri keep dangerous Leafs rolling
The wave of young players (led by Auston Matthews) and some underrated holdovers (including Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk) explains why the Toronto Maple Leafs are a dangerous team in the East.
It showed again on Thursday.
Matthews scored the opening goal and assisted on another Kadri overtime game-winner as the Maple Leafs edged the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in OT.
With that, the Maple Leafs won all four games of their just-concluded road trip. In doing so, they took a point from a Bolts squad that needs to make the most of their home dates.
Matthews’ goal was one of those displays that prompts people to wonder how, in the world, he’s only a rookie:
William Nylander factored into Kadri’s overtime-winner, too, continuing the theme of young and almost-as-young players coming through:
The Leafs edged the Lightning in shots on goal by a margin of 35-27, so it’s not like this was a matter of timely scoring alone.
This is a real confidence-boosting run for the Leafs with a challenging start to 2017 looming. They face the hype and distractions of the 2017 Centennial Classic as a “home game” and then follow that with four of five on the road.
That isn’t easy, but Toronto has immediate evidence that they can keep rolling even with a tough stretch of scheduling breaks. That’s the sort of confidence that can make you, well, dangerous.