Feb 28, 2013, 10:27 PM EDT
It took time in the minors for Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri to develop his game at the professional level.
It’s paying off. Kadri recorded his first career hat trick Thursday night, as the Leafs defeated the New York Islanders 5-4 in overtime. Dion Phaneuf scored the overtime winner, but not before Kadri, 22, snapped a five-game drought without a goal.
Kadri was a seventh overall pick of the Leafs in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, but hasn’t played a full season in the league. He hadn’t even reached a point-per-game average in the American Hockey League, which led to an abundance of criticism.
“It was tough on me for a little bit,” Kadri told the Globe and Mail earlier this week. “I really don’t think a lot of other people could have been under the scrutiny and under the pressure and have that mental toughness to prevail.”
He’s now hovering just below a point-per-game pace in the NHL, with 21 points in 22 games.
He has seven points in his last four games.
- How bad are things for the Kings after Monday? 4
- Lightning clinch playoff berth, but did they lose Hedman? 6
- Blackhawks tease good injury news for Kane 7
- Tough times in Tampa: Garrison out 3-4 weeks after ‘pretty dirty’ Abdelkader hit 22
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 29
- NHL on NBCSN: Stakes high for Kings, ‘Hawks tonight 21
- Blackhawks’ Sharp: ‘We knew we had to get two points’ 12
- Video: Brian Engblom takes a puck to the head 13
- Flames jump back into third in Pacific, beat Preds 6
- Letang concussed, Penguins will dress five defensemen 18