The Leafs hosted John Tavares and the NY Islanders Tuesday evening and came out with a 7-1 victory.
It was a statement game for Toronto, who lost to the same Islanders in overtime eight days ago after blowing a late two-goal lead.
“We didn’t do silly things. We played with maturity, which is good and got on and off the ice right,” coach Mike Babcock said after his team’s win. “Let’s not kid ourselves, we’re still a young group and we’re going to make lots of mistakes over time, but we’ll learn over time. As we get more and more professional we’ll manage the game better.”
Auston Matthews scored a pair for the Leafs, including his 27th goal of the year to extend his lead among rookie scorers. Also netting goals were Josh Leivo, Nazem Kadri, William Nylander, Tyler Bozak and Matt Hunwick. Freddie Andersen was solid in goal for Toronto, stopping 33 shots on the way to his 100th career victory.
There was a bit of controversy in the reffing. Jason Chimera was granted a penalty shot on a weak hook. He scored on the play, foiling Andersen’s bid for the shutout.
“You’ve just got to think about the next save and the next shift for the players,” Andersen said. “We regrouped and came at them again. We knew the most important thing was to get the win tonight.”
The Leafs face the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Wednesday.
(With quotes obtained by Rob Del Mundo)