It showed again on Thursday.
Matthews scored the opening goal and assisted on another Kadri overtime game-winner as the Maple Leafs edged the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in OT.
With that, the Maple Leafs won all four games of their just-concluded road trip. In doing so, they took a point from a Bolts squad that needs to make the most of their home dates.
Matthews’ goal was one of those displays that prompts people to wonder how, in the world, he’s only a rookie:
William Nylander factored into Kadri’s overtime-winner, too, continuing the theme of young and almost-as-young players coming through:
The Leafs edged the Lightning in shots on goal by a margin of 35-27, so it’s not like this was a matter of timely scoring alone.
This is a real confidence-boosting run for the Leafs with a challenging start to 2017 looming. They face the hype and distractions of the 2017 Centennial Classic as a “home game” and then follow that with four of five on the road.
That isn’t easy, but Toronto has immediate evidence that they can keep rolling even with a tough stretch of scheduling breaks. That’s the sort of confidence that can make you, well, dangerous.