John Tavares had one of the best nights of his career, scoring four goals and helping the Maple Leafs beat the Florida Panthers 7-5. This was the centre’s first four-goal game in his NHL career, with a total of 45 goals scored this season.
The 28-year-old joined the team last summer and has so far been one of the best players on the team. Following an excellent performance on Monday night, he is only three goals behind the league’s best scorer, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
Zach Hyman had one goal and two assists, hitting the 20-goal mark this season, while Mich Marner reached 90 points with his three assists. The win on Monday was the 45th one this season for the team from Toronto.
Tavares also set his new career-high when it comes to goals.
Patric Marleau and Jake Muzzin were also on the scoresheet for the Maple Leafs, with Morgan Rielly and William Nylander had two assists each to complete an excellent night in front of 19,125 spectators at Scotiabank Arena.
The Leafs’ goalie Frederik Anderson ended the night with 31 saves.
The Maple Leafs are the third-placed team of the Atlantic Division, only 5 points behind the Boston Bruins.
The Leafs were up 4-1 and 6-2, but the Florida Panthers managed to get too close at one point. Jayce Hawryluk had 2 goals and an assist for the Panthers, while Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Matheson scored two goals each. Still, their efforts could do little to prevent Miami from losing their second game in a row.
An Excellent Game at Scotiabank Arena
The Leafs took the lead 2:06 into the first period when Marleau scored his 16th goal of the regular season. Muzzin soon doubled the lead, while Tavares scored his first goal of the match on the power play at 11:05.
Hawryluk responded at 13:23, scoring his 6th goal of the season, but Tavares added another one to his count just 1:19 later. But that wasn’t all we saw in the first period, as Matheson scored his 8th of the season to cut the Maple Leaf’s lead to two.
Tavares was on fire, and 5:51 into the second period he scored his third goal of the game to make it 5-2. Once he scored his fourth of the game to make it 6-2, nearly 4 minutes into the third period, it didn’t seem the finish would be a bit uncomfortable for Toronto.
Huberdeau made it 6-3 at 5:34, by Hyman soon once again increased the Maple Leafs’ lead to four, scoring this 20th of the season. Huberdeau made it 7-4 6:24 before the end, while Hawryluk scored another 4 minutes later to make it 7-5.
The Maple Leafs’ next game is on Thursday when they travel to Philadelphia to face the Flyers.