Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Babcock wants to see the Maple Leafs put it on repeat, largely

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs - 12/13/18 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction Lightning goalie Vasilevskiy returning to face Toronto
Cassandra Castillo | 16 December, 2018, 07:28

Aleksander Barkov scored at 3:24 of overtime to complete his first National Hockey League hat trick and give the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

He's always been a circus freak (in the most complimentary way possible) in the Lightning crease, and even in his first contest back after missing 14 games with an injury, the human slinky showed not one speck of rust as he stole the show in Tampa's 4-1 win over Toronto on Thursday.

The Leafs had a season-high 49 shots on goal, their most in a game since last January 31 when they had 50 against the New York Islanders, and held the Lightning to 21, the second-fewest the Leafs allowed in a game this season.

"We get the puck all the time", Babcock said. I thought we were really prepared (in Tampa), I thought we did lots of great things, in the end we didn't get what we wanted. "... I think there are some teams that, due to their level, you're more interested in beating just because of the emotional side of it. We didn't mind winning in Minny (5-3 on December 1) when Freddy (Andersen) was the star".

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed a goal on the second shot he faced and then stopped 47 shots in a row in a 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs.

More news: Drew Jackson, Connor Joe Selected In 2018 Rule 5 Draft

The loss of key power-play pieces from seasons past like Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk forced adjustments by the Leafs, but Babcock is confident this year's units will get into a consistent rhythm.

"Just so much trust in his game and so much predictability", Tavares said of Hyman after the Leafs practised at the Panthers' facility on Friday afternoon.

"I don't think [those losses] affected one [power-play] group at all, it's just that we had two groups past year", Babcock said.

"I don't know if anybody here realizes that". He puts a lot of pressure on the (opposing defencemen) with his speed and his strength.

Now that he's eligible to play again, Tavares is eager to add Hyman back onto his line with Mitch Marner.

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