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Category: Toronto-Maple-Leafs

All Eyes On The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet, The joy of the greatest regular season in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 105 years of existence will not be poured neat.

No, sir. The intoxicating cocktail of this record-breaking 54-win, 115-point romp will be spiked with doubt and laced with fear, sprinkled with regret, and served by a ghost that’s been haunting the mecca for 55 years. It’ll be the kind of drink that requires a chaser. Maybe two.

Some will say club president Brendan Shanahan and handpicked general manger Kyle Dubas have doubled down. Nah. They’ve sextupled down on this talented core of five — Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander and Morgan Rielly — who, you may have heard, play for a team that has lost five consecutive first-round playoff series. Set their Stanley Cup ambitions aside for a second. These bright stars, most firmly in their primes, represent a proud organization that hasn’t celebrated a single series victory since Toby Maguire was the only Spider-Man of cinematic record. These Leafs, man. They’re either doomed or due. Destined to be demonized or determined to become dragon slayers.

And there is zero doubt where Dubas, the stubborn/steadfast architect of the roster, lines up on that debate, set to be settled beginning Monday against the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning. “For better or worse, I believe in this group. I believe that they are going to get it done and that they are going to win,” Dubas stated over the summer, the sour taste of another Game 7 loss still on his lips. “I understand that this comes with certain doubts because we have not broken through in the playoffs. But it is my belief that they will. I believe in them as players. I believe in them as people. I know that the decision lies on me and the risk is for me in going ahead that way.

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A New Season For The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com,

The Toronto Maple Leafs were all smiles when they gathered for the official 2021-22 team photo on the Scotiabank Arena ice Wednesday. With Auston Matthews having scored his 60th goal of the season when Toronto clinched home ice for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings 15 hours earlier, there was plenty of reason to be jovial.

But here's the reality of the situation: If the Maple Leafs stumble in the early stages of the postseason yet again, one of the greatest regular seasons in their nearly 105-year history, for individual players and the team itself, will end will a dour mood.

"All the accolades come when the team is doing well. Like, you get individual awards and stuff in the regular season, and it's great. But come playoff time those things don't mean much," defenseman Jake Muzzin said with a knowing chuckle.

"It's a new season, really, and we've got to start breaking records in [the] playoffs I guess, so to speak. So it's take it day by day, get ready for Game 1 and go from there."

After closing out their regular season against the Boston Bruins on Friday, the Maple Leafs will play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round at home having clinched second place in the Atlantic Division. They will face the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning or the Bruins, who reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2019.

Either way, playoff experience and success will not be on their side.

continued

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Video- Wayne Simmonds Fined For Charging

NEW YORK (April 22, 2022) – Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds has been fined $2,250, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for charging Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev during NHL Game No. 1234 in Tampa on Thursday, April 21, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 15:21 of the third period.


Watch below.

Continue Reading »

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Video- Kyle Clifford Fined For High-Sticking

NEW YORK (April 22, 2022) – Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford has been fined $2,500, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for high-sticking Tampa Bay Lightning forward Corey Perry during NHL Game No. 1234 in Tampa on Thursday, April 21, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today. 

The incident occurred at 8:10 of the third period. Clifford was assessed a match penalty.


Watch below.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs Are A Different Team This Season

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

Of course the playoffs matter more. But there isn’t a team heading for the second season that’s thinking, “Hey, who cares if we even win a game? Our fans will just be thrilled with what we did in the regular season.” Four of the Leafs, Bruins, Lightning, Panthers, Hurricanes, Rangers, Penguins and Capitals will suffer elimination in the first round, and all four will be utterly mortified by that result. Owners will be angry. Jobs will be lost.

The only reason why this is more of a talking point around the Leafs is their recent history, and because they are the most discussed team in the NHL. Some are already convinced of the inevitability of another first-round ouster, and loudly proclaim that conclusion as often as possible.

Well, if you aren’t already convinced, read on.

Sifting through the results of the final weeks of the season, it’s becoming clear that even if the Leafs do lose in the first round, it won’t be because this is exactly the same team that blew a 3-1 series lead to Montreal last spring. It’s not.

True, some key pieces are the same: Matthews, Marner, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, Jack Campbell (maybe/probably). But some prominent pieces are different, elements that have propelled this offensive-minded squad to one of the best regular seasons in club history — in an NHL campaign that has seen more goals scored than in any previous season this century.

Offence and creativity are trending. The style of hockey the Leafs are playing, in other words, is on the same swing plane as the rest of the league for the first time in the Kyle Dubas era.

more

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Video- Everything You Want In A Hockey Game

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

If the Toronto Maple Leafs ever bless their fans with a snowbird series in Florida, the games will be up for grabs and the entertainment value should be off the charts.

Do you enjoy goals? Ten-bell saves?

How about hits? Superstars? Broken records?

Wild shifts in momentum and surprise plot twists?

The Maple Leafs’ wild back-to-back in the Sunshine State featured some high-event, high-octane, high-anxiety hockey.

Call it a potential playoff preview.

Call it a collapse.

Call it a comeback.

Or simply call it a fun night at the rink.

The only thing Toronto’s hectic 7-6 overtime loss to the top-seed Florida Panthers Tuesday did not provide was a dull moment.

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Watch the game highlights below.

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A Big Win For The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs have planted a seed.

Maybe not growing into the first seed in the division quite yet, but one that roots their belief in winning a series or two in the hyper-competitive Atlantic Division. Toronto’s confidence certainly grew Monday when it stared down the two-time Stanley Cup-champion Lightning, one of their potential opening round opponents, in a 6-2 win.

Behind Matthews’ hat trick, which tied Rick Vaive’s franchise record of 54 goals in a season, from 1981-82, the Leafs outhustled a team that had their full attention.

“It’s humbling,” Matthews said of matching Vaive. “It means a lot, obviously, just to be in the same sentence as a guy like Rick and these other guys that have come before, representing what it means to be a Toronto Maple Leaf.”

And the team’s dream of being first in the Atlantic, a wolf pack many said would consume the Leafs after being in the watered-down North Division last season, isn’t out of the question. If they can beat the Florida Panthers in regulation on Tuesday, the gap would be down to five points, with Boston winning to tie Tampa on Monday.

“These two games in Florida were like a flashing light on our schedule a long time,” said head coach Sheldon Keefe.

continued

Game highlights are below.

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Video- #50 For Auston Matthews

What a deke by Matthews, the goaltender is not even in the picture.

 

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Today’s Goaltending Situation For The Toronto Maple Leafs

from the CP at Sportsnet,

Jack Campbell is on the cusp of returning to the Maple Leafs' crease.

Petr Mrazek, meanwhile, will once again be out for an extended period.

Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said before Thursday's game against the Winnipeg Jets the goaltender will likely miss at least six weeks with a groin injury — his third of the season — suffered Tuesday in Boston against the Bruins.

"Mrazek is getting another consultation just to get some confirmation on some things," Keefe said. "But that's the sense we have right now."

The 30-year-old, who will be out the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs based on that timeline, had put together solid back-to-back wins against the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers after clearing waivers prior to the NHL trade deadline following a string of poor performances.

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Prospect Goalie Keith Petruzzelli Getting Noticed In Toronto

from Ian Kennedy of The Hockey News,

When the Detroit Red Wings selected Keith Petruzzelli in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft, the 6-foot-5 netminder looked like the team’s goaltender of the future.

After the draft, Petruzzelli did nothing to tarnish that distinction. Backstopping the NCAA’s Quinnipiac Bobcats, Petruzzelli put up a four-year 2.17 GAA and .915 save percentage. As a senior, he was named the ECAC Goaltender of the Year and a Hobey Baker nominee. He looked pro-ready.

Detroit however, wanted Petruzzelli to use the extra year of eligibility the NCAA provided during the pandemic to return to school for a fifth season. At that moment, the towering netminder decided to follow his own path. He was going to leave school, turn professional, and become an NHL free agent. It was a gamble on himself, and when he didn’t immediately earn an NHL contract, it looked risky.

The Boston Bruins were the first team to call, inviting Petruzelli to development camp, but it was the Toronto Maple Leafs organization that made an offer.

Toronto didn’t sign Petruzzelli to an NHL contract; rather, they inked the Wilbraham, Massachusetts prospect to an AHL contract. Here, it was up to the once highly touted prospect to prove himself, and Petruzzelli has done just that.

Could He Be Toronto’s Goalie of the Future?

If Petruzzelli’s rookie pro season is any indication, the Toronto Maple Leafs may have found a low-risk, low-cost prospect who could become an NHL starter.

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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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