There were a few candidates for player of the week, but a returning hero outshined all. Tyler Bozak is your Toronto Maple Leafs player of the week for New Year’s.
As usual, Bozak played a simple man’s game, but it’s undeniable that his return aided the Leafs. In a three assist effort, Bozak helped greatly in lifting the Leafs over Carolina in his return game. He also recorded four takeaways, showcasing his smart stick and good one-on-one skills. In another return to form, Bozak managed to win the majority of his faceoffs on the night (14-for-25), a rare feat this season for the usually faceoff-savvy centre.
In the Winter Classic, Bozak shined again. Playing far more than in his previous game, Bozak was on the ice for about 23 and a half minutes (including over four minutes on the penalty kill), leading all Toronto forwards. Bozak again put up an above average performance at the faceoff dot, going 58 per cent on the night (and 69 per cent against Pavel Datsyuk). Bozak also scored in the game, tipping in a Dion Phaneuf point shot which put the Leafs on top in the third period. In his last accomplishment of the game, Bozak fired home the game-winning shootout goal.