COLUMBUS, Ohio – John Tavares scored two goals, Garret Sparks had 27 spares, and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 on Friday night.
Mitch Marner had a goal and helped on both Tavares’ tallies, and Frederik Gauthier likewise scored to power the Maple Leafs to their fifth straight success, coordinating the longest dash of the season.
Nick Foligno and Artemi Panarin scored for Columbus, and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 spares. The Blue Jackets, playing on the second night of a consecutive, saw their five-game winning streak snapped as they endeavor to remain nearby to Washington at the highest point of the Metropolitan Division.
Toronto took advantage of a power play early in the game when Tavares diverted in a shot by Nazem Kadri from space. Foligno tied it up presently a short time later when he snapped a shot between Sparks’ cushions from the right circle.
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It would be all Maple Leafs from that point.
Tavares got his second late in the first time frame with a shot from the left circle that went best retire over Bobrovsky’s glove and gave Toronto a 2-1 lead.
Marner gave Toronto a two-goal lead part of the way through the second on a 4-on-4, when he dashed in front of Pierre Luc-Dubois on a surge, took a beautiful pass from Auston Matthews and tapped it past Bobrovsky.
— Maple Leafs Hotstove (@LeafsNews) December 29, 2018
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) December 29, 2018
Late in the third, Par Lindholm scooped the puck out from the back of the net to set up a wrap up by Gauthier. Panarin got his 100th NHL objective with 1:28 left in the game.
Columbus came up the empty on a couple of power plays and has scored only once in 33 attempts with a man-advantage in the last 11 games.
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NOTES: Tavares’ 26 goals lead the team. He has seven goals and four aids his last six diversions. … Toronto D Igor Ozhiganov returned in the wake of missing three games of an illness. Justin Holl was a solid scratch to make room. … Toronto F Patrick Marleau played in his 1,613th NHL game, giving him sole ownership of tenth place on the untouched list. … With an assist on Foligno’s goal, Seth Jones has 13 points in the last 15 games.
Toronto: Hosts New York Islanders on Saturday.
Columbus: Hosts Ottawa on Monday night.
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