Struggling Maple Leafs captain Tavares looking to 'create more' in 1st_freckle removal edinburgh

Struggling Maple Leafs captain Tavares looking to 'create more' in 1st-round seriesTampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos finally broke through for his team. The Maple Leafs are still waiting for their leader, captain John Tavares, to do the same. He has yet to register a point at 5-on-5 in Toronto's first-round playoff series.

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Centre shining on faceoffs, in O-zone but has 1 goal in last 7 full playoff games

Joshua Clipperton · The Canadian Press(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos finally broke through for his team.

The Maple Leafs are still waiting for their leader to do the same.

John Tavares has yet to register a point at 5-on-5 in Toronto's first-round playoff series with Tampa Bay, which sits tied 2-2 following Sunday's 7-3 blowout loss at the hands of the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions at Amalie Arena.

Not including last spring's opener against the Montreal Canadiens when he suffered a devastating injury following a scary collision that ruled him out for the rest of the Original Six matchup, the 31-year-old has one goal in his last seven post-season games.

Tavares, with three more seasons left on a contract that carries an $11-million US salary cap hit, has two assists against the Lightning — one on a power play and another with the teams playing 4-on-4 when Sunday's contest was out of reach — through four games.

"I haven't been able to produce offensively as I'd like," he said in the wake of that ugly defeat. "I would still like to create more."

The centre has done his job in the faceoff circle — he won 10 of 11 draws on Sunday — and has been a contributor in Tampa's zone once Toronto gets its cycle going.

But a regular-season issue has continued into the playoffs after Tavares finished sixth on the Leafs with 39 even-strength points (15 goals, 24 assists) in 2021-22.

WATCH l Maple Leafs fall to Lightning in Game 4:

Ross Colton leads the way as Lightning even up series with Leafs

2 days agoDuration 1:31A pair of goals by Ross Colton lifts Tampa Bay to a 7-3 win over Toronto, evening the series at 2-2.More NHL coverage

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