Lucas Viveiros | Report

Backed by a solid team road game, the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to fend off the surging Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday evening by a final score of 4-2. 

The contest was a battle of two teams that were firing on all cylinders at the moment, with Columbus being winners of five straight heading into this one, and the Maple Leafs having a win streak of four consecutive prior to this game.

But it was Toronto who would get the icebreaker early, scoring on their deadly power-play just 2:22 into the first. The goal would come off of a double deflection from a Mitch Marner slap-pass, as Kadri would get his stick on the puck first, followed by Tavares who would be credited with his 25th of the season, making it 1-0 Buds.

Columbus would storm back to tie the game quickly however, as their captain Nick Foligno would scurry his way into the Leaf end and fire one through the five-hole of Sparks, on a goal that Sparks would love to have back.

The game would stay deadlocked until the final few minutes of the first when John Tavares would grab his second of the game on a snipe high glove on Bobrovsky, leaving the Russian goaltender with no chance to make the save, and putting the Leafs ahead 2-1.

This narrow lead would stay in tack and be built upon in the second frame, as Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner would find themselves on the ice together for some four-on-four hockey and they would convert. On the play, Matthews would strip the puck from Dubois and find Marner on a two-on-one, and he would make no mistake beating the over committed Bobrovsky to extend the lead to 3-1.

Both teams would exchange third period tally’s, with a goal from Gauthier for the Leafs  and a one-timer bullet from Panarin for the Jackets, as the final score would end 4-2.

Revisit the game’s highlights below.

Next up, the Maple Leafs will welcome John Tavares’ former club the New York Islanders to Toronto on Saturday night.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm from Scotiabank Arena, and can be seen on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.

More news from the ice

  • On Thursday, Auston Matthews was named the Atlantic Division captain for the 2019 All Star Game
  • In wake of Frederik Andersen’s day-to-day groin injury, Toronto recalled goaltender Kasmir Kaskisuo from the Marlies and traded for goaltender Michael Hutchinson from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a fifth round pick
  • John Tavares has seven goals and four assists in his last six games
  • Tavares will face his former team for the first time on Saturday
  • Patrick Marleau skated in his 1,613th NHL game, putting him alone for 10th place on the all-time list
  • Igor Ozhiganov returned to the lineup after missing three games because of an illness

Out of town scoreboard

Friday, December 28th

Montreal 5 Florida 3

Ottawa 3 NY Islanders 6

More coverage to follow. Image from Maple Leafs Hot Stove.

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