Columbus exercised the formula visiting teams have thrown at the Leafs this season at Scotiabank Arena Monday night and for 30 minutes it worked. They pressured the Leafs defense, clogged the neutral zone, moved the puck quickly out of their own end and were rewarded with a 2-0 lead on tallies provided by Cam Atkinson and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
However the dreaded two-goal lead syndrome along with the fact these Leafs are learning how to win provided the undoing for the Blue Jackets in a 4-2 loss.
Mitch Marner continues to control games and John Tavares is finding holes, trailing the play to pick up loose pucks and anticipating where 16 will eventually find him.
They were a threat all evening. Marner had two helpers with JT adding a goal and an assist.
Tyler Ennis more comfortable game by game with his bottom six role is providing skilled offense and showing why the Sabres were so high on him.
Kasperi Kapanen again with his quickness provided many scoring chances for not only himself but also his line mates. His stretch pass to Marner started the play finished by John Tavares to even the score in the second after a brilliant spinorama goal by Ennis had cut the lead to one.
Frederik Anderson once again was outstanding in goal when called upon and the Leafs defense while running around with some sloppy zone coverage settled down enough to limit the Blue Jacket chances in the third.
Zach Hyman tipped in the winner and for good measure added an empty netter to seal the victory for the home side.
The encouraging thing for Leafs fans and worry for opponents is this team’s becoming very difficult to play against. With the return of Auston Matthews expected shortly along with possibly William Nylander, this would give Toronto a lethal lineup. They have so much firepower and speed you can’t cover them all and it’s been a long time since a Maple Leafs team has been able to say that.