Reinforcements arrive for Maple Leafs battle against the Flames

After four much needed days off, the Toronto Maple Leafs are back in action tonight, taking on the Calgary Flames in the first-half of a two-game set. Wayne Simmonds makes his return to the lineup tonight and Jack Campbell will be backing up Freddy Andersen.
Good Health
A rare four-day break for the Leafs seems to have done wonders for the team. Wayne Simmonds is now back from a broken wrist, Jack Campbell’s nagging injury seems to have subsided for now and reports indicate Auston Matthews’ wrist injury is doing a lot better.
This 56 game season truly is a grind, the Leafs have another four day break after this two-game set with Calgary, and then are playing every other day for more or less the rest of the season.
Having everyone back from injury will also allow Sheldon Keefe to slot guys back into their appropriate spots. Alexander Kerfoot is back centering the third line and Pierre Engvall is now on the fourth line. Both performed admirably when called upon to play higher up in the lineup.
Alex Galchenyuk Era
Tonight will be Alex Galchenyuk’s first game as a Toronto Maple Leaf. Sheldon Keefe is giving Galchenyuk a …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Is Toronto’s smaller lineup sustainable in the postseason?

Raptors: Is Toronto’s smaller lineup sustainable in the postseason?

Nick Nurse needed to do something to shake up the Toronto Raptors after a bit of a bumpy stretch, and he decided to turn the starting lineup completely on its head. Aron Baynes, the disappointing Australian big man who hasn’t done a great job of replacing Marc Gasol, has been banished to the bench. The […]
Raptors: Is Toronto’s smaller lineup sustainable in the postseason? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors: 3 most insane stats from Fred VanVleet’s record-setting night

Raptors: 3 most insane stats from Fred VanVleet’s record-setting night

The Toronto Raptors needed someone to catch fire on the offensive end if they wanted to defeat the Orlando Magic for the second time in three days and get themselves right back in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff push, and Fred VanVleet obliged with the greatest single-game scoring performance in Raptors […]
Raptors: 3 most insane stats from Fred VanVleet’s record-setting night – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Leafs defeat the Oilers 4-3 in the battle of the special teams

Well if both teams needed to get some additional reps on the powerplay and penalty kill, tonight’s game was perfect for them. The Leafs stayed hot, defeating the Oilers 4-3, making it three straight wins. The Leafs finished the game 2/4 on the powerplay and the Oilers were a measly 2/7.
The Leafs opened the scoring midway through the first, courtesy of the man they call Vintage. Jason Spezza scores his first of the season after a Koskinen miscue behind the net.

JASON SPEZZA 1-0
The Dad is back! pic.twitter.com/dK1CoPFDg7
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 29, 2021

William Nylander added to the Leafs lead, scoring just as the Leafs powerplay expired to make it 2-0. Nylander’s third goal of the season ended a seven-game scoring drought.

#LeafsForever up 2-0 after the 1st
William Nylander on the PP and Spezza the goal scorers
: https://t.co/C81TUUvLIP
pic.twitter.com/h1NgvdOJ69
— SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (@SiriusXMNHL) January 29, 2021

The Leafs carried this lead late into the second period… Until the refs decided to enter the game.

Kerfoot called for *checks notes* slashing pic.twitter.com/dPENsudvnf
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 29, 2021

Kerfoot gets called for the non-existent slash, sending the Oilers to …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

Leafs beat Tampa. Here’s to feeling good all the time

It’s safe to say the Leafs needed this one. It’s also safe to say the Leafs need to be consistently playing like they can beat their likely first round playoff opponent, but consistency is a problem for another day, and for now we can enjoy the Leafs outlasting the Lightning in a 2-1 victory.
It was a victory achieved through star power, as Matthews and Nylander continued to build on their impressive goal totals, both Tavares and Marner chipped in with 2 assists, Freddie Andersen, and even Rielly managed 21 minutes of ice time in a game we didn’t know he’d be in until this morning.

Vasilevskiy went one way, and Nylander capitalized pic.twitter.com/xpdsO9AVCf
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 10, 2020

The Road to 50 continues!
Auston Matthews puts the Leafs up 2-1 pic.twitter.com/Quz2Rgy7ZL
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 11, 2020
Period
CF
CA
CF%
HDCF
HDCA
HDCF%
xGF
xGA
xGF%

1

23
14
62.16%
5
0
100%
1.45
0.27
84.09%
2
10
9
52.63%
2
5
28.57%
0.21
0.7
23.05%
3
17
21
44.74%
2
5
28.57%
0.52
0.66
43.91%
Final
50
44
53.19%
9
10
47.37%
2.18
1.64
57.09%
via naturalstattrick.com
If we’re going to pump the breaks on the good times, the Leafs had a very strong start that tapered off as the game went on. Also, while acknowledging that goals are goals, the Leafs …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs vs Panthers tonight has massive playoff implications

The Leafs needed a bounceback, statement, character, whatever kind of win you want to call it in the worst way on Tuesday against the Lightning. They got it. But while that was a game to feel great about for a couple days, the reward for it is the setup for tonight’s monster game against the Panthers – the only team really chasing and capable of catching the Leafs to bump them out of the playoffs.
How much is on the line tonight? About as much as a regular season game can possibly be worth at this stage in the schedule. MoneyPuck.com has as much as a twenty percent swing in playoff chances for either team. Truly bonkers. Thankfully they also project the Leafs as road favourites in this game with a 53% win probability. I’m sure that will ease everyone’s mind.
It might seem like this season has been going off the rails for Toronto, and to a point that’s true, but with the playoff seeding set up as it is, their cutoff to get in is going to be on the low side. Going into this evening, the Leafs are projected …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs Pregame #48: 5 Things to Watch for against the Flames

The Leafs picked up a much needed win against noted win donors the New Jersey Devils the other night, but face a bit more a legitimate challenge tonight in the Calgary Flames. I mean, not really all that legitimate, they are decent by Pacific Division standards and Lucic in their lineup, but still the difficulty level is going up a little.
The Leafs are in a win/win situation in that if they beat the Flames they get two points, but if they lose they put the Oilers and Canucks in a worse position. I think it’s important that we appreciate the silver linings regardless of the outcome.
LINEUPS

LW
C
RW
Forwards
ZACH HYMAN
Rating: 74.5#32 LW

AUSTON MATTHEWS
Rating: 82.6#3 C

MITCH MARNER
Rating: 78.9#5 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.66#5 FL1

PIERRE ENGVALL
Rating: 73.8#44 LW

JOHN TAVARES
Rating: 78.5#15 C

WILLIAM NYLANDER
Rating: 76.1#19 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 76.12#8 FL2

ANDREAS JOHNSSON
Rating: 72.7#68 LW

ALEXANDER KERFOOT
Rating: 71.9#106 C

KASPERI KAPANEN
Rating: 73.1#52 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.55#7 FL3

DMYTRO TIMASHOV
Rating: 71.4#91 LW

ADAM BROOKS
Rating: 72.0#105 C

JASON SPEZZA
Rating: 70.2#113 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.21#13 FL4

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Defense
TRAVIS DERMOTT
Rating: 72.6#69 LD

JUSTIN …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors run wild in Game 4, beat the Bucks 120-102

The Raptors got everything they needed from everyone on the team — even a slow-footed Kawhi — and tied the series up 2-2 after wiping out the Bucks 120-102 in Game 4. After Game 3’s end-of-days marathon, the Raptors had to know they’d need more from every player on the roster not named Kawhi Leonard. That’s not to say others on the team weren’t tired too, but Toronto’s squad likely knew it had to respond in kind after Kawhi kept their season alive on Sunday night. As Game 4 against the Bucks carried on, it was clear Leonard was definitely not at 100 percent — but it was also clear he didn’t have to do it all on the night.
Instead, it suddenly felt like a stroke of genius for Kyle Lowry to, say, foul out with so much time left in Game 3, and for Toronto’s bench to play poorly for long stretches of the playoffs, both in this series and earlier on, so as to sock away some minutes on the bench. Maybe they had all just be trying to keep themselves fresh for exactly this situation.
And why not, it was Lowry’s 25 points on 11 shots (plus 10-of-10 …

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ

Okay, I think it’s time to call up Cavan Biggio

Everyone yelled for months that Vlad Jr. needed to get called up and finally happened last week. Now it’s time to yell about somebody else coming up. I think that player is Cavan Biggio.

Biggio enjoyed a breakout season last year with Double-A New Hampshire due largely to an adjusted swing that had him focusing on trying to put the ball in the air. The results were excellent as Biggio slashed a.252/.388/.499 line and hit 26 homers while driving in 99 runs. The breakout season put Biggio, a fifth-round pick back in 2016, on the map as one of the Blue Jays’ top prospects.
There was some skepticism as to whether Biggio was actually legit or not given the fact he had fairly pedestrian numbers in the lower minors in his first two professional seasons. But, small sample sizes be damned, he’s silenced his doubters by kicking the shit out of Triple-A over the first month of play.
Coming into today’s game with Pawtucket, Biggio was slashing a .352/.478/.577 line with four bombs and 12 runs batted in. Perhaps the most impressive part is that he has more walks (18) than he does strikeouts (16).
Those numbers are… very good. And then he went …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation