It took all of three minutes and 15 seconds for the Columbus Blue Jackets to take the lead on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Was it an ominous sign for a Toronto team enduring its share of tumultuous times in recent days and weeks?
Turns out, it wasn’t.
The Leafs came alive. They took over.
Toronto scored four times in the first period, taking a 4-1 lead over the Blue Jackets, before skating to a 5-2 victory on Friday. It’s also a win for Peter Horachek, who took over the coaching duties from the fired Randy Carlyle.
“I feel like there’s definite buy-in and a positive attitude,” said Horachek, as per the club’s Twitter account.
Phil Kessel, who had been at the center of controversy since the firing of Carlyle, had a goal, an assist and seven shots on net. James van Riemsdyk had two goals and an assist. And Tyler Bozak had a goal and an assist.
Puck possession has been an ongoing issue with the Leafs under Carlyle. On Friday, the Leafs held a distinct advantage in that aspect, according to the numbers at hockeystats.ca.
Earlier in the day, team president Brendan Shanahan held a chat with his players, adding he hasn’t seen enough consistency from the core group of players.
For one game, anyway, it appears they got the message.
“Enough said about system, I think they just wanted us to come out here and put the effort in,” said goalie Jonathan Bernier, as per Jonas Siegel of TSN 1050.
Now, scary moment in this game. Referee Dean Morton left the game after he was tripped up and sent hard to the ice. He did not return.