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Category: Toronto-Maple-Leafs

Leafs Wrap

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

After watching his players get booted in the opening round for a fifth straight time, and third overseeing the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mike Babcock must have felt the daggers raising from the fists of a city that swore this time things would be different.

Four times the head coach passive-aggressively blamed goaltender Frederik Andersen — arguably the club’s most valuable player through 88 games this season, saying some variation of "They threw them at the net, they went in."

He directed fans’ attention over here, to Nazem Kadri and how the third-line centre’s reckless suspension (again) might have cost the team this series.

"It was unfortunate, the incident with Naz. Obviously, he wasn’t available. It was like an injured player in the playoffs, and we thought that was going to give us some depth and would have allowed us to move Willy [Nylander] around a bit, which we were never allowed to do," Babcock said. "As a management team, we’ll look at our group and see what we can do to get better."

The optimism was so much higher, the roster so much deeper walking into TD Garden this time, yet the result was infuriatingly, deflatingly familiar.

Another horror-show elimination game in the Maple Leafs’ own zone. Another argument for grizzled experience over flashy youth. Another Game 7 victory for the Boston Bruins.

continued

Below, read Bruce Arthur, Steve Simmons and Kristen Shilton.

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The Boston Bruins Defeat The Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1

The Bruins will face the Columbus Blue Jackets in round 2.

Toronto had a good 2nd period but other than that, nada.  Boston played their game tonight and deserved the win.

Oh, and another year for no Cup in Canada.

Handshakes can be watched below.

added 10:08pm, Game highlights below.

added 10:18pm, Babcock presser below.

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Time For Some Of The Leafs to Bring Their Game

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

You don’t have to tell John Tavares he has one goal against the Boston Bruins — and that it was scored into an empty net.

He knows that.

He knows he led the Maple Leafs in scoring with the most goals he’s ever managed in his career. He knows this is why he came to Toronto, for moments and games such as these, to compete in a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs against another great team. To be front-and-centre and significant.

He knows that the matchup with Patrice Bergeron is one Hall of Fame centre against the other, although Tavares is not so presumptuous to declare himself that.

And he knows, more than any of us can, that he needs to be better in Game 7 against the Bruins — the Leafs’ annual journey it seems — and he needs to be part of the growing history of this turning franchise.

You don’t have to tell Mitch Marner he has no even-strength assists against the Bruins. That number, by itself, seems almost inexplicable. He knows he’s the Leafs’ leading scorer and playmaker. He knows he’s the quarterback that can see what others cannot. He has that swagger, that inner confidence, the stuff you can’t teach.

continued

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Auston Matthews At The Top Of His Game

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

A year ago, Auston Matthews went into the playoffs saying he wanted to be like Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby. Forget about the regular season, he said. He wanted to be one of those players who make a difference — and a name for themselves — when the games really matter.

Then the Toronto Maple Leafs went out in the first round in a series in which Matthews was ineffective and underutilized, prompting head coach Mike Babcock to travel to Matthews’ home in Arizona in the off-season to smooth things over.

This year, don’t expect Babcock to book any flights out west anytime soon.

Matthews has a long ways to go before he enters the rarefied air of Toews or Crosby. But the 21-year-old is making a difference against the Boston Bruins. With four goals in this series — including the first goal in a 2-1 win in a pivotal Game 5 that gave Toronto a chance to advance to the second round on Sunday — he’s certainly making a name for himself as a big-game performer.

“I thought tonight, this was his best 200-foot game of the playoffs,” said Babcock. “I thought he played great. I was impressed with him and I was proud for him. He should feel good about himself.”

continued

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  Tags: auston+matthews

The Toronto Maple Leafs Are Up 3-2 In Their Series With The Boston Bruins

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

It was a night begging for a moment.

Tie game, tie series and the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs playing into the third period like their seasons were on the line.

Wouldn’t you know the breakthrough came courtesy of Jake Muzzin, just 24 hours after becoming a first-time father, who put all of his dad strength into a cross-ice pass that gave Auston Matthews his fourth goal of the series at 11:33 of the third period.

That was enough for Toronto to eke out a 2-1 victory Friday and take a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series that’s too tight to call.

In this playoff spring where certainty remains in hibernation, the teams played cautious at TD Garden. They were trying to control everything they could and even some of the things they couldn’t.

continued

Highlight package is below.

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Video- You Make The Call Boston/Toronto

Call on th ice stands, good goal.

The Leafs just won 2-1 and lead the series 3-2.

added 10:18pm, Below, read the NHL explanation.

 

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Toronto Has The Goaltending Advantage

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

There is no doubt the Leafs have the best goaltender in the series, which under normal circumstances wins you playoff rounds. The best goalie doesn’t always win, though — see Tampa’s Andrei Vasilevskiy in Round 1 against Columbus. The hottest goaltender wins.

Andersen is better than Rask at this stage of their careers. But will he be hotter than Rask in the final games of what is now a best-of-three series?

That has yet to be determined.

No doubt, though, Andersen is world-class. Rask used to be world-class. He’s slipped somewhat from his greatest days, but is still an above-average NHL goaltender. And, to date, through four very different playoff games, Andersen has outplayed Rask through the first three games, two of them won by the Leafs.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs Have A Problem Killing Penalties

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

When asked what was wrong with the Leafs play on the penalty kill, Frederik Anderson said: “I don’t know. I haven’t looked at that.”

Normally, there is a connection between crummy penalty killing and crummy goaltending – but Andersen has had an excellent series against the Bruins. Been the Leafs best player. Structurally, though, down a man the Leafs don’t appear to have any reasonable answer through the first four games – more importantly Wednesday night with the Leafs having a 2-1 lead in the series and the grand opportunity to go up two games.

An opportunity now blown as the series heads back to Boston for Game 5.

In Game 4, Boston scored a first-period power-play goal and a second-period power-play goal and really that had the Leafs playing catchup all night long. Two power-play goals. They only had two power plays.

After four games, Boston now has five power-play goals, at least one in every game. Toronto has killed penalties at a fire-the-coach rate of 54.5%. You need 80% or more to get into law school, get into medical school, get to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

At below 60%, you’re getting ready to pack your bags and head home. That’s frankly inexcusable.

more

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Video- The Boston Bruins Even Their Series With The Toronto Maple Leafs

Series tied at two and it is now a best 2 out of 3 series.  Next game is Friday night in Boston.

from the CP at TSN,

David Pastrnak scored twice in quick succession, Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists, and the Boston Bruins survived a late Toronto surge to beat the Maple Leafs 6-4 on Wednesday and even their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal at two games apiece.

Charlie McAvoy, with a goal and an assist, Zdeno Chara and Joakim Nordstrom, into an empty net, provided the rest of the offence for Boston, which got 38 stops from Tuukka Rask.

Auston Matthews, with two, Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott replied for Toronto. Frederik Andersen made 25 saves, Morgan Rielly added two assists.

continued

Game highlights below.

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Afternoon Line- Auston Matthews

"It’s not what people expected or figured that was going to happen with the regular season they had. It doesn’t matter what seed you’re in. Or your place.

"It all comes down to will."

-Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs on the Tampa Bay Lightning being swept.  The CP at Sportsnet has more reaction from the Leafs and Bruins.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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