Kadri happy to show off for Kobe Bryant in Toronto

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TORONTO — Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri is a big fan of Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. Fortunately for Kadri, he had one of his best games of the season with Bryant in the house to see it.

With the Lakers in town to face the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Kadri had a goal and a highlight-reel assist as well as a couple of big hits to help the Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 at Air Canada Centre on Saturday. His assist on Cody Franson’s first period goal was something straight out of the “Black Mamba’s” bag of tricks.

After the game, Kadri was asked about what it was like playing in front of Bryant, and he couldn’t help but gush.

“He’s one of my favorites, but I didn’t realize he was there till probably the end of the first period,” Kadri said. “I don’t know, maybe I can meet him somehow. But I’m happy he came to watch some hockey.”

Meanwhile, Kobe was busy winding up on the Jumbotron and posing with Leafs CEO Tim Leiweke.

Leafs players couldn’t help themselves in trying to get Kobe’s attention via Twitter.

If Kadri is going to play like that when Kobe is in the building, maybe the Leafs can splurge and get him season tickets whenever he decides to hang it up.