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Teammates eager to win one for Tavares

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TSN Toronto reporter Mark Masters checks in daily with news and notes on the Maple Leafs. The Leafs skated at Nassau Coliseum Monday morning ahead of tonight's game against the Islanders.

John Tavares is back in the eye of the storm. On Feb. 28, he was booed and taunted by Islanders fans as the Maple Leafs fell 6-1 in his first game back at his old home.

"You learn from it," the 28-year-old said. "It's definitely a unique experience. So, I mean, I think overall you'd just like a better result for our team. So if I can play better and be more effective that's just what I try to worry about."

Tavares was the subject of derisive chants throughout the night and had plastic snakes and a jersey tossed at him during the warm-up. Did the experience make him mentally stronger?

"You continue to try and find ways to get better and how to handle certain things, overcome adversity and what not, and certain challenges. So, I guess, yeah, it is a good way to learn more about yourself and continue to grow."

Considering how hard he worked for the organization during nine seasons in New York, was Tavares at all disappointed with the rude welcome?

"Everyone has their feelings," he said. "You know, it is what it is."

The best revenge would be a win tonight. Tavares has gone two straight without hitting the scoresheet matching his season-long drought. Despite the high expectations this season in Toronto, the centre has been the model of consistency.

"He's a great person," said head coach Mike Babcock, "and a great teammate and a great man for us and that's all, to be honest with you, we really care about. We would have liked to have a better showing. We came in here on a back-to-back and had a good first period, but didn't sustain it through the game. In the end, we've got an opportunity here tonight and........