TLN Three Stars: Leafs win in regulation with late goal, but it didn’t count, so Canucks win in OT

This had to be one of the most talked about games going into the game that had absolutely no playoff implications, as the Canucks were playing their first game in almost a month after dealing with one of the COVID variants that went through most of the team. It was going to be interesting to see how the Canucks would handle their first game back from a disease that would probably affect their stamina and endurance, and how the Leafs would respond to that.
Somehow that wasn’t the biggest story of the game, as the Leafs would finally end the power play slump after almost 9 minutes, and Zach Hyman would leave the game early after a knee on knee hit from Alex Edler.
Also Marner might have scored a goal late in regulation to win it, but it just wasn’t quite conclusive enough so it stayed tied, and went to overtime, where Bo Horvat scored his second of the game to win it for the Canucks.
Not David Ayres level embarrassing considering the Leafs were the better team, but it’s still not the best look for the Buds.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Nick Robertson
Robertson got his …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 3 players playing well in their new roles

Toronto Raptors: 3 players playing well in their new roles

There’s about a month remaining of games left for the 2020-21 regular season. Things haven’t been easy for the Toronto Raptors, but there have been many silver linings to take away. With injuries and players being out due to health and safety protocols, it has led head coach Nick Nurse to mix and match a […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 players playing well in their new roles – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nickeem Khan / Raptors HQ

Fixing the Leafs powerplay

In the past 16 games the Leafs have scored on the powerplay exactly one time. They’ve had 38 opportunities in that time. They’ve been outscored on the powerplay having given up two shorthanded goals during that time. I’m pretty sure we can make the argument that if the Leafs did nothing, the powerplay would eventually improve beyond 2.6% effectiveness (coincidentally Taylor Hall’s success rate this season as well), but our crew here at TheLeafsNation.com has some ideas that might fix it quicker, and beyond simply bringing it above rock bottom.
Here they are:
Ryan Hobart:
I’ve always been an advocate of having inverted wingers on the power play. I think you need a presence behind the net as well, so your net front role and your “bumper” role shift down to be a behind the net and front of the net combo. The behind the net player sets up the one timers for the inverted wingers or dishes to the point if they’re covered. The net front and behind the net players are both down low to clean up pucks and maintain possession. It’s a bold strategy as you’re very deep in the zone, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays host the Los Angeles Angels for Dunedin’s big-league debut

After dropping two of three games in Texas against the Rangers, the Blue Jays will look to get back on track as they host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a four-game set at home in Dunedin.

This weekend’s series will feature the Blue Jays’ “home” opener and it’ll also represent the first-ever big-league games played at TD Ballpark in Dunedin. We’ve seen plenty of spring and Single-A games played in Dunedin, but the town has never been host to a real, regular season Major League Baseball game.
It’s also been ages since we’ve seen the Angels. You have to go all the way back to June of 2019 for the last time these two teams met. Bo Bichette wasn’t even on the roster at that time, so this will be quite a different-looking Blue Jays squad for L.A. to face.

Shohei Ohtani hitting a home run off himself. This guy is just incredible pic.twitter.com/MNzhYES5Ns
— Gabe (@PIayoffTanaka) April 5, 2021

How they’re doing…
The Angels are a really difficult team to project. They’re obviously loaded with a bunch of high-level talent, namely Mike Trout, but they can never seem …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

TLN Three Stars: More like the Calgary Lames

The Leafs improve to 6-0-1 in their last seven games, and now have a six point lead in the North DIvision following their 4-2 win over Calgary tonight. We were told Matthew Tkachuk was in the lineup but I’m not sure I remember hearing him mentioned even once, and generally the Leafs were treated to the underwhelming performance that the Flames have been known for under new old coach Darryl Sutter. A rough go late in the first, followed by disinterest throughout most of the second gave Leafs fans a slight scare, but as underwhelming as the Leafs were at times, the Flames seemed equally underwhelming.
3rd Star: Second and Third Period Michael Hutchinson
Poor guy. I feel for him, I really do, but no one makes me more nervous in net than Michael Hutchinson. If he was actually in the 4th goaltender on the depth chart role that he was signed on to be in, I’d have no problem with the guy, but here he is, a staple of the Leafs back to backs, and as much he was awful in the first period, Hutchinson was a big part of the Leafs staying a float in …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: McDavid gets his fifth ever win against the Leafs

After many exciting games between the two (with most of them falling in the Leafs favour thankfully), the Leafs and Oilers concluded their nine game season series tonight. It lived up to the expectations of McDavid vs. Matthews, as there were chances galore at both ends of the ice. The Oilers opened the scoring with a Josh Archibald goal, but the Leafs followed with goals from Marner and Matthews in quick succession to make it 2-1 in the first. It would be scoreless for the second before Kyle Turris would score early in the third as the puck deflected off his knee and in the net to tie it. The game would once again find it’s way to overtime, but unfortunately the Leafs weren’t on the right side of it tonight, as Darnell Nurse would score the overtime winner and give the Oilers the win.
It sucked to see it end that way, but the Leafs played well and still got a point.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Auston Matthews
If there’s one positive we can take away from this game, it’s that Auston Matthews is officially back, or his wrist is. While it wasn’t his …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Oh look, there’s a Leafs game tonight

After having only two games in the past 10 days, the Leafs are finally back at tonight in Ottawa.
The Leafs went into this most recent break a lot more favourably than the last one. Jack Campbell’s shutout has certainly given us a lot of hope that the recent skid is over, and now that they are facing the bottom of the division in the Senators, there’s no reason to believe that the good times won’t continue (except the Sens, along with the Jets have been the most difficult opponent for the Leafs this year.)
So here’s the deal. The Sens are going to bring their best game, and it turns out that Filip Gustavsson knows what he’s doing in net. As bizarre as it is that a goaltender named Gustavsson knows what he’s doing, the Leafs need to be prepared for an attempt at goalie-ing. On the upside of that equation is the Leafs will either be getting Gustavsson who just played last night, something that rarely goes well for goaltenders, or Anton Forsberg. Yes that Anton Forsberg who has lived on waivers for the entirety of the season. He’s had one successful …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse and his system keeps Toronto competitive and helps the NBA

Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse and his system keeps Toronto competitive and helps the NBA

The Toronto Raptors have now lost six straight games. Despite this, they are just three games back of the 6th place Atlanta Hawks. The Raptors have remained at least somewhat consistent this season, despite the numerous changes and challenges they’ve dealt with. A big reason why is head coach Nick Nurse and his balanced, and […]
Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse and his system keeps Toronto competitive and helps the NBA – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jose Guzman / Raptors HQ

The Maple Leafs are the best team in the NHL – Rate That Leafs Game

So, here we are. Three games after arriving in Edmonton and the Maple Leafs one all of them. Without Auston Matthews, Toronto’s depth and other top players had success which put them over the top in each game. Defence was also a key factor as they held Connor McDavid pointless in three games and Leon Draisaitl to one point.
A solid road trip which they hope to finish off after the play the Vancouver Canucks in two-straight games. To me, it’s weird to see the Leafs atop of the North Division and the NHL, but at the same time, it’s so exciting.
I hope you enjoy this video, where I freakout for most of it.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, February 10th: COVID conundrums and more

Well, it’s been a week of games marked PPD and news around the league of more players and personnel added to COVID protocol lists, which is Not Great. So far, the Canadian division has been the least impacted by COVID, and hopefully for everyone’s health and safety that continues. There’s some speculation about how standings will be calculated should it get to the point where teams are unable to reschedule or make up missed games, with points percentage becoming more important than usual. In the meantime, a number of schedule changes were announced in the other divisions:

The NHL announced a number of schedule updates Saturday amid the recent postponement of games due to its COVID-19 protocols.
Details https://t.co/WZ9IZ3hX0q
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 6, 2021

Unfortunately, much of the news around the league this week has been related to COVID, but there are a couple other noteworthy items to touch on! Let’s dive in.
Leafs Lads
The Maple Leafs announced an historic endeavor yesterday, timed well considering it’s Black History Month.

New fans and the road forward.
Our inaugural episode of Barrier Breakers dives into the sisterhood – and impact – of @BlackGirlHockey, and …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation