Maple Leafs’ Tavares ‘not worrying’ about lack of targets at five-on-five


John Tavares is aware of it has been some time since he scored a purpose at five-on-five.

Twelve video games, if we’re counting, have handed for the reason that Maple Leafs captain scored in that scenario on March 11 in Toronto in opposition to the Edmonton Oilers.

“Actually, I’m not worrying about it an entire lot,” Tavares stated after apply on Wednesday. “You need to rating at five-on-five, I need to impression the sport offensively

“General, it’s about my recreation being related by way of all three zones and taking part in effectively with and with out the puck. Playoff hockey is extraordinarily tight. There’s going to be stretches the place it doesn’t really feel such as you’re producing an entire lot, and you need to just remember to proceed to be actually robust and dedicated with out it.”

Nonetheless, it isn’t a coincidence that coach Sheldon Keefe put Mitch Marner again on Tavares’ proper in opposition to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, and the 2 will probably be collectively once more on Thursday in Boston versus the Bruins.


“We need to see what Mitch’s presence there can do,” Keefe stated.

“Mitch and John have executed rather well collectively. I’m not as targeted on John’s five-on-five manufacturing by way of offence essentially. I consider that that can come. John has had plenty of these kinds of dry spells, if you wish to name it that. He has continued to be very productive on the facility play, which is nice. And he has been actually targeted on his defensive play. That’s equally as necessary. That hasn’t at all times been the case with John. He has actually made some changes over the previous few seasons to be a significantly better defensive participant.”

Tavares, as you’ll count on, was buoyed by the upcoming return of veteran centre Ryan O’Reilly in opposition to the Bruins.

“It’s huge,” Tavares stated. “You noticed the best way he got here in and impacted the group proper off the bat, his pedigree, his expertise.

“As a pacesetter, he has are available and had an impression, not simply on the ice however off it. We’re thrilled to have him and he’s been large for us, been large for me. He makes us that significantly better.”


How has O’Reilly, the captain of the St. Louis Blues when he was traded to Toronto, helped Tavares?

“Properly, when you may have somebody that has been by way of so much, has completed so much, been a captain, I feel he has a superb understanding of the footwear you’re in and with suggestions, you possibly can trip,” Tavares stated. “He has a extremely good really feel of when to chime in or talk about sure issues. I can go to him and get his opinion.

“His pedigree speaks for itself and it wouldn’t make an entire lot of sense for me to not benefit from it.”

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