Bertuzzi finally gets one to drop in Maple Leafs’ laugher over Ducks

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About time, Tyler Bertuzzi.

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We would argue that the biggest goal in the Maple Leafs’ 9-2 crushing of the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday was scored by Tyler Bertuzzi in the second period.

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With his first goal in 20 games and seventh of the season, we can stop asking questions about his lack of production. 

And Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe can stop talking about all of the little things Bertuzzi has been doing well.

The longer Bertuzzi went without scoring, the worse it looked for Bertuzzi, regardless of anything else he might have getting done.

The test now for Bertuzzi: Turn it into something that resembles consistency.

DEADLINE THOUGHTS

Adam Henrique is a rare breed.

The Ducks centre isn’t turning his back on speculation fuelled by the impending National Hockey League trade deadline, fully aware that his name is in the thick of speculation as March 8 approaches.

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Unlike others in the NHL who refuse to take a peek at social media or watch sports newscasts as trade talk intensifies, Henrique has a different view.

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“For the most part, it’s an exciting time of year for the league,” Henrique said on Saturday. “Now, I just happen to be in that time. 

“You see everything. You guys (in the media) talk a lot about what could be. I’ve played long enough where every year you try to see who is out there and who is going to go where.

“We’re curious too as players about what is going to happen, who is going to make what moves.

“You would love to be a fly on the wall with the GMs and hear what they’re talking about. I try to focus on the game. I think that helps as part of a distraction, if you will, on the in-between days when you see (the speculation).”

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We know it’s getting closer to the deadline with the amount of NHL scouts in attendance at each game. No less than 15 teams were on the press-box list Saturday night, and five of those teams — Vegas, Los Angeles, Edmonton, Dallas and Carolina — had two scouts with reserved seats at Scotiabank Arena.

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The 34-year-old Henrique is in the final season of a five-year contract that carries an average annual value of $5.825 million. It’s not that he necessarily wants to leave Anaheim, where he has played since 2017-18, when he was acquired from the New Jersey Devils. He knows, though, that he is the kind of player teams covet, and that his value increased with the earlier trades of centres Elias Lindholm (to Vancouver from Calgary) and Sean Monahan (to Winnipeg from Montreal). 

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If the Leafs take a long look at adding a centre for depth — though the main goal of general manager Brad Treliving is (and should be) to acquire a defenceman or two — a player such as Henrique, who has a 10-team no-trade list, could benefit Toronto. He has 35 points in 53 games and is respected across the NHL for his savvy and smarts. 

Treliving has a shallow pool of assets, which could impede him from making more than one trade. 

“It seems like there could be a lot of landing spots,” Henrique said when he was asked specifically about the Leafs. “People are always saying ‘I hear this team is reaching out’ so it’s hard to — unless you’re the GM — really know how much truth is behind certain things. I try not to focus on any certain team.

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“Not knowing when something may happen is probably the most difficult thing.”

Any way it plays out, Ducks GM Pat Verbeek’s phone will be buzzing constantly in the coming weeks.

GAME ON

Of the remarkable factors in Auston Matthews’ six hat tricks this season: Going into Saturday, no other NHL team had more than five … Boo Radko Gudas all you want. If the Ducks defenceman was with the Leafs, who wouldn’t want that nastiness on the Toronto blueline? … Yes, we know his name: It’s Lukas Dostal, and he allowed four goals on 18 shots in the first period before he was pulled in favour of John Gibson to start the second. When considering the 55 saves Dostal made in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Leafs on Jan. 3, he was the same on Saturday in name only … Matthews had 14 four-point games in his NHL career before recording five points for the first time … The wave made its way around the rink several times in the third period. Good times … The Leafs scored four power-play goals in a game for the first time this season. They did it once in 2022-23 … After the Leafs in the first period lost defenceman William Lagesson to an upper-body injury, Mitch Marner had several shifts on defence once the score got out of hand.

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LOOSE LEAFS

The Leafs are keeping teammate Mark Giordano in their thoughts after the sudden passing of the veteran defenceman’s father, Paul. “The guy has done everything he can for our team and he is the backbone of this team back there and we’re going to give him his privacy,” Marner said. “It’s heartbreaking to hear the news.” … Marner on the PWHL game between Toronto and Montreal on Friday at Scotiabank Arena, which drew a record 19,285 fans. “I unfortunately was unable to attend it, but watched it all on TV and the crowd, the atmosphere, the game, everything about it was amazing. They deserve it. It’s cool to see the whole city of Toronto really embrace that.” … Joseph Blandisi and Dylan Gambrell scored in the Toronto Marlies’ 3-2 overtime loss at home against the Hershey Bears.

tkoshan@postmedia.com

X: @koshtorontosun

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