Maple Leafs back in win column after frying Lightning

Carl Gunnarsson and Leo Komarov of the Leafs put the queeze on Tampa's Nate Thompson on Wednesday...

Carl Gunnarsson and Leo Komarov of the Leafs put the queeze on Tampa's Nate Thompson on Wednesday night at the ACC. The Leafs put the squeeze on the Bolts with a 4-2 win. (Reuters)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:28 AM ET

TORONTO - The NHL trade deadline is approaching, but have the Maple Leafs finally found the first-line centre they have craved for so long?

Nazem Kadri may not be there yet, but the team’s leading scorer is well on the way to being the complete player his coach Randy Carlyle demands of him, an evolution no more in evidence than in Wednesday’s large 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Stalled in a five-game winless streak that had seen the Eastern Conference playoff contenders close in on them, the Leafs were approaching desperation for a win.

Kadri didn’t do it all by himself, but he was a factor at both ends of the Air Canada Centre ice in what may have been his most complete game of the season.

Not only did he have a career-high three-assist night to punch his way into the top 15 of the NHL scoring race, he was matched against one of the league’s true snipers, Steven Stamkos (tied for second), who was held pointless against the Leafs and was a minus-2.


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