Leafs' Tavares combines one of the best seasons by signing free agents


NEWARK, N.J. – John Tavares is already one of the best shooters in his generation.

Half a season in his mandate with Toronto Maple Leafs, he worked on one of the best seasons ever signed by a free agent in the NHL.

Tavares scored two more goals on Thursday – no. 300 and 301 of his career – to raise Toronto to win 4-2 against Devils from New Jersey.

It is on the right track that he will exceed his career with 38 goals after he scored 29 times in 43 matches. Only Texas Alex Ovechkin (31) has more in this season.

After Ron Hainsey opened the scoring against Devils, Tavares went to work. He grabbed Jake Gardiner bouncing and backhanded shot past Keith Kinkaid at 7:21, becoming the first member of the 2009 draft class to hit 300 career goals.

Tavares then reached 3-0 Toronto just before the first break, after staying with a wide open grid, thanks to some excellent ice passages prepared by Morgan Rielly and Mitch Marner.

Devils switched the switch during another period, when Blake Coleman and Brian Boyle reached 26 seconds apart. Coleman overturned the point before the kickback, while Boyle defeated Michael Hutchinson.

They were closed from there.

Tavares had some good looks on his second trick since he joined Leafs, but in the past 20 minutes he failed to beat Kinkaida. Mitch Marner is in an empty net.

Visitors were satisfied that they returned home with two points in the last month, after having passed through the pedestrians in the past month 7-5-2.

"There will always be ups and downs, we will talk about it all the time, your low drops must be very short," said Leafs coach Mike Babcock. "We were suddenly in that period that we were not so good. We need to be better. "


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