Toronto's so called 'Core-Four' of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander have shone individually many times in a Leafs uniform but in recent games, the team's stars have played at collective level fans have never seen, which bodes well for what might be considered a make-or-break run at the Stanley Cup when the NHL playoffs start in April.
OMAR: Have the Leafs core for been this consistent together all at once-- Oscars-- at the same time at this point of the season? There have been many moments where you'll have flashes of Marner and Matthews being good or flashes of Tavares and Nylander being good. But all four of them have decided to just activate and turn it on and just go off.
That second period against Edmonton was one of the most exhilarating and exciting periods of Leafs hockey I've watched in a long time. You have goals from Marner and then Nylander and then Tavares and then Tavares again and then Matthews. And again, it just seems as if that was a game where the Leafs core four took over.
And now you have the milestones going up. Marner's definitely hitting 100 points easily. Nylander's probably going to hit 40. Tavares and Matthews just hit 30 goals again for their season. And focusing on Matthews, because a lot of people have said, oh, Matthews is having a down year. Yeah, Matthews is having a down year, but he's probably going to hit 40 goals again, which is nuts and insane. And it's happening at the right time.
We are 20-ish games away from the playoffs, from where the true test happens. And the fact that the Leafs' best players are now becoming the best players, altogether, consistently is exactly what I want to see. It was exactly what I think a lot Leafs fans have been dying to see. And I think what we want to see, again moving forward, is just that continuing. But man, is it great to see the Leafs core four just dominate and take over and kind of go from more of a core unit to a fantastic one?