Whatever was wrong with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New Jersey Devils have often provided the cure.
The Leafs were the better team from the drop of the puck and — despite stubbing their toe with some a sloppy five minutes in the second period — skated off with a 4-2 win in New Jersey on Thursday night.
The Leafs had won both previous meetings by lopsided scores of 6-1 and 7-2. This one was going down that path, with Toronto off to a 3-0 lead in the first period, highlighted by a three-way passing play with Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly and John Tavares.
But like so much else lately for the Leafs, nothing has come easy and sometimes — with giveaways and soft play — they make things harder on themselves.
Still Toronto pulled off a win they absolutely needed after winning just once in their previous four outings and starting to feel the heat from the Bruins chasing them for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Said Tavares on scoring his 300th: “It means I’ve been in the league a little while. That’s a good thing. To have success you have to play with good players.”