After the horror show on Saturday night, the Maple Leafs bounced back with a big divisional win. It was a team effort as eight players recorded a point. Toronto ended Tampa’s 11 game winning streak at home.

Leading From The Front

Finishing as the games’ first star, Tavares had one of his best games of the season. For the fourth time this year, Tavares recorded a multi-goal game. This gave the Leafs a much needed spark to win. Despite being under fire, this is the third straight game recording a point while also having 12 points in his last 10 games.

Tavares’ numbers are down from last season but we can’t write him off just yet. He is a great leader and tonight was a great example of it. Against a fantastic team in Tampa his effort was able to bring the best out of the Leafs top players. Nylander finished with two points while both Matthews and Marner recorded an assist. The assist was Matthews 74th point, setting a new career best.

Full Team Effort

After not making any big moves at the trade deadline, the Leafs needed to prove Dubas made the right choice. They did just that as they responded positively with a big win. Despite going down early, the Leafs responded very well. They were able to put great pressure on the Lightning which led to a goal by Muzzin tying the game up only three minutes later. They would continue to put on the pressure ended the first period with a 2-1 lead.

In the second it was much of the same, Tampa was able to tie the game. Tavares would score only 30 seconds later to regain the lead. Heading into the third period with a 4-2 lead, the Leafs showed us their grit. Unlike in the past, they showed they do have the will to win. Despite being out shot 14-3 and a fluke goal by Tampa they continued to fight. Their offence was never questioned, we know they can score but it was their drive to win tight games that everyone has been questioning. Tonight they showed us they can do it.

Nylander Making It Look Easy 

Finishing as the second star of the game, Nylander had himself a night. He set up Tavares with a great pass for his second goal. However the goal Nylander scored was a thing of beauty. Coming off the power-play, Nylander scored an amazing goal putting the puck through his legs while being in tight with the goalie.

Last season left a very negative look on his play, but this season he has made a turn for the best. 56 points in 62 games, while scoring a career high 28 goals Nylander is showing us why Dubas decided to pay him. Many question his desire to win but after Saturday night, he was the only Leaf on the ice for the optional skate. The potential is there and he is putting in the work to get there.

The Leafs will return on Thursday in a crucial game against the Panthers. With the win over the Coyotes, the Panthers sit two points back of the Leafs with a game in hand. A win will be huge for the Leafs’ push for the playoffs, but I wonder which Leafs team will show up for the game.