Nicholas Robertson scores in his return to the lineup.

Nicholas Robertson scores in his return to the lineup.

Nicholas Robertson had something to prove after being sent down after the trade deadline.

Jonathan Larivee

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nicholas Robertson entered Saturday night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes with something to prove, and he delivered in a big way.

Robertson had some good chances early on but his hard work would finally pay off in the game's second period when Maple Leafs captain John Tavares fed him the puck after a great individual effort on the part of Tavares. After scoring on a breakaway earlier in the game, Tavares was gifted another partial break but was unable to get a scoring chance for himself. Tavares would however set up a streaking Robertson with just a tap of the puck, and Robertson would make the Hurricanes pay, giving the Maple Leafs a 3-0 lead in the second period.

Robertson wasn't happy when he was sent down to the American Hockey League following the National Hockey League's trade deadline, and I suspect he came into tonight's game with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Robertson only slotted into the lineup tonight due to injuries to both Calle Jarnkrok and Mitch Marner, but strong performances in their absence could give the Maple Leafs and head coach Sheldon Keefe something to think about moving forward.