TORONTO — They are becoming a team that haunts their opponents.
On their best nights, the Toronto Maple Leafs will embarrass you. And on their worst they still might beat you.
With Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner both settled into their primes, the Leafs have become a different beast than in years gone by. They are now a league-best 10-2-1 and seven of their game-winning goals have come off the sticks of those two players.
The Vancouver Canucks surely deserved better here on Monday night — Matthews said so himself. But he also wasn’t apologizing for delivering the dagger, winning an offensive zone faceoff and executing a set piece designed by Marner before one-timing a shot through Braden Holtby’s legs to completely wipe away the 49 forgettable minutes that came before it for his team.
“I think it just speaks to the confidence our team has,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said after the 3-1 victory. “We’ve been finding ways to win these types of games all season. … These are the kind of games that our team, if we want to be a good team that wants to accomplish great things, you need to find a way to be good when things are uncomfortable.
“I really liked our response in the third period.”
They were responding to a meek seven-shot output through 40 minutes that was the result of a desperate Canucks attack. After dropping two games here, Vancouver brought…