The Toronto Maple Leafs came to play at the Prudential Center in Newark last night and the New Jersey Devils were the victims. The listless Devils were no match for a hungry Toronto side that’s had trouble finding the back of the net on a regular basis recently so it was only a matter of time before the talented Maple Leafs broke out.
The guys who are supposed to score did with Tavares, Matthews and Marner leading the way. Patrick Marleau has been scoring at a more consistent pace the last month contributed a light; Morgan Reilly and Tyler Ennis with a pair rounded out the tallies for the visitors. Nazem Kadri and Connor Brown had 3-helpers each to add to the productive evening.
Toronto took the play to the Devils from the opening puck drop and had the home side chasing the game all night. When the Leafs play that way, not many teams in the NHL can play at that level with them. The puzzling take-away is the lack of production from the Leafs potent power play that has gone "O-fer" the last 3-games. They continue to move the puck sharply and with a purpose, but they are pressing, forcing them to hesitate slightly and giving the opponents time to set up or block a hurried shot. The line “get one, get a dozen” applies because again they are too talented of a man-advantage unit to be shut down much longer.
Frederik Andersen once again made the saves he’s supposed too and was sharp when tested and that wasn’t very often.
Toronto plays 13 of the next 18 at home and last year this would have been a welcome stretch. The mysterious lull at the friendly confines of Scotiabank Arena will have to be dealt with starting Thursday against Florida if they have any hope of catching Tampa. The recipe for success is hard work and, on the road, they have executed the plan with great success; if they can duplicate the effort on home ice, we will have a horse race folks!!