The Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares has been on a career-worst cold streak in terms of goal scoring lately. (Aside from his rookie season).
However, there are encouraging signs that suggest John Tavares won’t go much longer without a goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Particularly in their 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, Tavares was looking much more likely to score.
It seemed the pairing of Ondrej Kase with him and William Nylander sparked the line into a little more life than during the Leafs recent three-game losing streak. (All stats prior to last night’s game).
Toronto Maple Leafs and John Tavares
With their usual line mate Alexander Kerfoot swapping out against Minnesota, Ondrej Kase provided something a bit different with his slight frenetic bumping-and-bashing style.
Kerfoot hasn’t necessarily been the problem in terms of getting Tavares going, in fact the winger is on a career year for the Toronto Maple Leafs. However the difference, either through Kase’s greater willingness to get into the dirty spots and tussle for the puck or Tavares hustling, purely because he is so determined to break his drought, was clear to see.
Per Natural Stat Trick, he showed a great improvement on several statistics. With any luck, Kase remains in the top-six for the time being. Even if it proves to Kerfoot’s detriment somewhat.
His five-on-five Corsi For percentage dropped right off after the Vancouver game, with the exception being an improvement seen in the Columbus game. Against Minnesota, he continued the bounce back with a 56.67% score.
This positively impacted his expected Goals For at five-on-five jumping right back up to 59.82%, right back up from a dreadful 24.40% against the Seattle Kraken.
Surprisingly, or not considering the tentative nature of the game against Minnesota, Tavares didn’t register a single shot on goal personally for the Toronto Maple Leafs. This after putting up 5 shots against Columbus. Prior to that, he’d put just 2 shots on net in the 4 games leading in.
As an interesting side note, Alexander Kerfoot’s statistics actually tailed off in this game statistically, suggesting that his usual line mates of Nylander and Tavares are doing some of the heavy-lifting with regards to his career year.
It conclusive that key to getting his scoring going is continuing to get into the tougher spots; namely right at the net-front. Putting himself into that spot is absolutely essential if John Tavares is to end the cold streak.
For a player being paid $11 million a season, the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to need more from their captain. Let’s not discredit him though; he’s still projecting to score 28 goals and hit 78 points across 81 games.
The cold streak will end eventually. Perhaps even this weekend. After all, the last team he scored a goal against was the Detroit Red Wings. The Toronto Maple Leafs head to Motor City this weekend.