We all knew the Toronto Maple Leafs were going to score goals, but the numbers they’ve been putting up are some no fan has seen in years. Most of that falls at the hands of 2⁄3 of the GTA line: John Tavares and Mitch Marner.
One of Kyle Dubas’ selling points to JT in Los Angeles was the possibility of creating some magic with Mitchy, and with six games remaining in the regular season, it doesn’t look like either are done pulling out more tricks out of hats.
The latest performance saw Tavares score four goals bringing his grand total this season to 45 goals, second in the league behind Alex Ovechkin, while Marner’s assist on Zach Hyman’s tally, his 65th of the season, was his 90th overall point.
There are two massive personal and organizational milestones ahead for Tavares and Marner.
The last Leaf to score 50 goals was Dave Andreychuck, who put up, 53 while Doug Gilmore was the last to get 100 points, finishing the year with 27 goals and 84 assists. Those took place in the same season, the 1993/94 season to be exact, and Tavares and Marner are five goals and ten points away respectively from hitting those markers.
The question is: can they do it?
Considering they play on the same 5v5 line and power play unit, Tavares scoring 50 will directly impact whether Marner can get to 100 and vice versa.
Let’s start with 91. Tavares has seven multi-goal games this season, including two hat-tricks, obliterating any of his previous scoring paces since debuting in the NHL. That includes the run he had to start the year where he “tapped in” six goals in the opening four matches.
His situational scoring breaks down to (via Natural Stat Trick):
- 32 goals at 5v5
- 4 goals at 4v4
- 9 goals on the power play /
Marner has 25 assists on Tavares goals, 22 of which are primary ones, with the next Leaf forward being Hyman with seven (three primaries)! It’ll be a simple task for Tavares to score another five, especially given the competition the Leafs have in store.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators are out of the running and are dabble with giving up goals, even though Carter Hart has done a good job acting as the young band-aid for the Flyers. Tavares has three goals in five games against both teams, and if his production falters then, there’s also the possibility of a Walt Disney redemption moment where the Leafs return to Nassau Coliseum and walk out with a different result from last month.
Moving on to 16, the task is all the more easy. Marner has 27 multi-point games and highlighting that was his run of 12 assists in six games back in November. If it’s not on Tavares tap-ins, Marner’s getting credit on Hyman dog hunts (14), Morgan Rielly’s Salming impersonations (7), and on the now rare occasion, Auston Matthews toe drag and snipes (5).
Both Tavares and Marner are on three-game point streaks, and both will likely reach their respective milestones. Although they do their best to share the credit for their respective accomplishments, it is pretty incredible seeing what they’re doing.
On the other hand, it’s a little said that it’s taken the Leafs more than 20 years to have two players on their roster to produce at such an amazing rate. But it’s better late than never.
Will Tavares and Marner hit those milestones?
|Yes to both||243|
|No to both||187|