John Tavares returns to Leafs lineup after seven-game absence

Paola Ditto
Novembre 8, 2019

Closed games are usually decided at times, and Toronto certainly had a moment to remember when young gunmen Auston Matthews and William Nylander made a decision to steal the show late and put the game out of reach.

The Maple Leafs captain will be in the lineup on Tuesday night when Toronto plays host to the Los Angeles Kings at Scotiabank Arena. The Kings have lost five of their past six.

The Leafs (7-5-3) recalled forward Nic Petan from the Toronto Marlies, and Petan will play on the fourth line in place of Dmytro Timashov, who will be a healthy scratch against the Kings (5-9-0). "The only people that can do something about it is us".

"Made some really good progress", he said. "It's what we got". "We checked real well, did what we had to do".

The Leafs were 3-2-2 without Tavares, including Saturday's 4-3 shootout victory in Philadelphia against the Flyers.

Quick then snapped out the glove to deny Leafs blue-liner Travis Dermott off a Kasperi Kapanen feed before Matthews gave the Leafs the lead on the next shift. "But every year is different and we've just been a little inconsistent".

Babcock reiterated that the decision was about giving Petan a look, not to punish either of the players coming out.

Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin - acquired from the Kings in January for winger Carl Grundstrom, prospect Sean Durzi and a 2019 first-round pick - won a Cup with Los Angeles in 2014.

The Kings opened the scoring at 5:40 of the second with Kerfoot in the penalty box for interference when Anze Kopitar's initial shot off the end boards popped out the other side to Iafallo, who quickly tucked his fifth behind Andersen.

The Leafs got even with 6:31 left in the period when Walker turned the puck over just as teammates Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis collided in the defensive zone.

Kerfoot took a solid hit from Jeff Carter early in the first period and did not play for the rest of the period but returned for the start of the second.

The home side got a power play later in the period when Tyler Toffoli mugged Dermott, but Tavares somehow scooped his shot up and over the Kings net from in close with Quick at his mercy.

"I don't know", he said.

NOTES: Toronto was just 2 for 22 on the man-advantage in seven games without Tavares. Los Angeles is at Ottawa on Thursday before heading to Montreal two nights later.

The two young strikers of the team, along with players like Tavares and Mitch Marner, will always be unsafe in the closed games, and the fact that the Leafs can display so much talent in such situations is an advantage that few teams in the National Hockey League have.

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