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Category: Toronto-Maple-Leafs

Video- Joe Thornton Fined For Interference

NEW YORK (April 23, 2021) -- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joe Thornton has been fined $3,017.24, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for interference against Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault during NHL Game No. 726 in Winnipeg on Thursday, April 22, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 7:26 of the third period. Thornton was assessed a minor penalty for interference.

The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.


 

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Goaltending An Issue For Toronto After Their Fifth Consecutive Loss

from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,

William Nylander showed up on time on Tuesday night.

Not all of his Maple Leafs teammates could make a similar claim.

We’re looking at you, goaltender David Rittich.

After getting a reprieve for missing a team meeting on Monday, Nylander redeemed himself with a couple of assists on two John Tavares goals against the Vancouver Canucks.

As effectively as Nylander played in the offensive zone, Rittich was wretched at the other end, allowing two soft Canucks goals in the third period.

The result was a 6-3 Leafs loss, marking the first time Toronto has lost five in a row since Mike Babcock’s last stand as Leafs coach. The Leafs had lost six consecutive games when Babcock was fired on Nov. 20, 2019, and won its first three under Sheldon Keefe.

The fall on Tuesday came 48 hours after the Leafs lost 3-2 in overtime to the Canucks, a loss that included a couple of weak goals on Jack Campbell.

“I’m concerned about our goaltending,” Keefe said. “We got to get that sorted out. I’m not concerned about our team. I believe in our group. We played well enough to win, we played well enough to win the other night. But we got to get better goaltending to give our group confidence.”

continued

Below are the game highlights.

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Video- The Vancouver Canucks With An Incredible 3-2 OT Win Over The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

To twist an old Neil Young song, rust never sleeps.

The Vancouver Canucks, three weeks after COVID-19 halted their season, far back in the playoff race and with many of their players still out or ailing, gave the fully charged Maple Leafs all they could handle Sunday night at Rogers Arena.

Braden Holtby, who was having a sub-par year before the COVID outbreak, denied the best Leaf shooters much of the night as the Canucks won 3-2 in overtime. Bo Horvat’s second of the game, the OT winner, sent the Canucks’ bench into emotional celebration.

But midway through the game, Canucks Alex Edler took the fight a little too far, sticking a knee into Toronto spark plug winger Zach Hyman. Hyman limped off and did not return; Edler received a major, misconduct and possible Player Safety Department discipline.

Though a couple of Leafs were optimistic Hyman’s injury wasn’t serious, head coach Sheldon Keefe said “we’ll see tomorrow.”

continued

Below, find the game highlights plus a sensational save by Braden Holtby.

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It’s All About The Playoffs For The Core Of The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

So the Leafs are really pretty much the same team they were before the deadline, perhaps slightly improved, with the same strengths and same weaknesses. No. 1 on the list of those weaknesses is the uncertain situation in net, and while four different masked men have now earned points for Toronto this season, we all are pretty familiar with the NHL’s rule that you can only play one at a time.

Currently, that looms as a prickly problem for Keefe. He’s got lots of goalies hailing from lots of different places, and he just needs one of them to play well enough to get the club past the first round of the playoffs. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

The fate of this team in this bizarro season rests on Keefe identifying a goalie, and on whether Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin, Zach Hyman and perhaps one or two others have the ability to play much better in the playoffs this spring than they did in last summer’s bubble playoffs. Joe Thornton and Jason Spezza are nice stories and occasional contributors, as is Wayne Simmonds. But the big money boys have got to come through.

For 44 games, this team has performed very well. If it can hang on to first place, sometime next month it will likely face Montreal in the playoffs. That could be loads of fun and the stars will need to come out.

Dubas has so far declined to touch the core of this team, believing it will mature and eventually perform at a level that might get the Leafs to within striking distance of the Cup.

Soon, we will see if he was right. Or, more accurately, whether he was right within the context of a season like no other.

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Power Play An Issue In Toronto After A Loss To Winnipeg

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

An optimist would find comfort in the fact that the referees typically start hiding their whistles by the time the playoffs arrive.

Because at this stage, the only thing that could have the Toronto Maple Leafs feeling good about their power play is the prospect of having fewer of them.

On Thursday, the punchless PP was the main culprit for a 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets — bringing a nagging itch to the surface. They’ve been able to string together a lot of wins while going 1-for-42 with the man advantage since March 9 because of excellent results at even strength.

But there are going to be times where you can’t outskate that level of futility. In tight games against quality opponents, special teams are often the difference.

“I think it’s quite obvious the impact that the power play could have had on the game today and [we] failed to get it done,” said Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe.

continued

Game highlights are below.

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Will Joe Thornton Be On The Outside Looking In?

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

After acquiring Nick Foligno and Riley Nash at the trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs have 14 NHL forwards. The number increases to 15 if you include Nick Robertson, who has played in the past two games and not looked out of place.

So where does that leave Joe Thornton, who has no points in the past 14 games and has gone almost two months without a goal?

For most of the year, the 41-year-old has filled an honorary role alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on Toronto’s top line, where no one has minded all that much if he produces or not. But with the playoffs approaching, Thornton has been working his way down in the lineup while Alex Galchenyuk and others move up in the pecking order.

With William Nylander on the COVID protocol list, Thornton found himself skating on a line with John Tavares and Zach Hyman for Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Calgary. But it was a strictly temporary move.

When Nylander returns, there won’t be a place for Thornton on the top two lines. And there won’t be a spot for Thornton on a third line with Alex Kerfoot and Ilya Mikheyev once Foligno finishes his quarantine.

That leaves the fourth line. And even there, keeping Thornton around just for the sake of it may not be a luxury the Leafs can afford.

read on

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David Rittich Drops His Debut Game With The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Mark Zwolinki of the Toronto Star,

David Rittich got a lot of credit from his coach and teammates for jumping into the Maple Leafs net so soon after being traded from Calgary.

It didn’t end well — they lost 3-2 in overtime to the Flames, their second defeat in as many nights — but that wasn’t because of the goaltending.

“I thought he looked really good,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I’m sure it was tough for him. Emotions were a part of it — the different coloured jerseys, the (teammates) on the other side — but it was a good debut for him.”

Rittich made his Leafs debut — asked for it, actually — less than two days after the trade. With his old club travelling to face his new one, Rittich flew with the Flames to Toronto as a member of the Leafs.

“A lot of chirps there (on the plane). Some of the guys didn’t hold back,” Rittich said. “But I got a chance to say goodbye to all of them.”

Rittich spent four years in Calgary and was solid in his first game with the Leafs, who were behind for much of the night. Zach Hyman tied the game at 1-1, and Alex Kerfoot scored in the third to make it 2-2. But Johnny Gaudreau, with a terrific inside-out deke, scored 36 seconds into the overtime period, giving the Flames a win they desperately needed to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Rittich told Keefe in their first conversation on Monday that he wanted to play right away. Keefe said he gave Rittich the night to “sleep on it,” and the goalie was still set on playing Tuesday.

continued

Catch the game highlights below.

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Nick Foligno To Toronto

Through San Jose means taking on $$$.

added 6:05pm,

 

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The Toronto Maple Leafs Go Outside The Box Acquiring An Injured Riley Nash

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

The only real question now is whether Frederik Andersen will be healthy enough to play another game for the Toronto Maple Leafs before the end of the regular season.

If he’s sidelined until the playoffs, Friday’s creative cap-bending maneuver to acquire depth forward Riley Nash while triggering the long-term injury provision signalled that Kyle Dubas has roughly $5-million in space to play with heading into the trade deadline.

However, should Andersen return from a lower-body injury the team has declined to place a timeline on before May 11, what they accomplished in the trade with Columbus was adding a veteran centre without any impact on their cap position because Nash is out four to six weeks with a knee sprain.

Either way it’s an outside-the-box approach to acquiring an asset while balancing a challenging cap situation -- something Toronto has become known for under assistant general manager Brandon Pridham.

What this deal ultimately tells us about the Leafs hinges entirely on Andersen’s health. He hasn’t been on the ice since a loss to Calgary on March 19 and isn’t expected to join the team for practice before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline passes.

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Trade Deadline Options For The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

Seeking a versatile, responsible 3C like Philadelphia’s Scott Laughton, Columbus’s Nick Foligno, or Detroit’s Luke Glendening is one route.

Another is pursuing a winger like Buffalo’s Taylor Hall, St. Louis’s Mike Hoffman or Jaden Schwartz, Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell, or Nashville’s Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula or — the massive play — Filip Forsberg.

On the back end, Nashville’s cap-friendly Mattias Ekholm is the crown jewel of the trade-bait board — but his suitors will be plentiful, and Nashville’s recent standings surge will give GM David Poile pause whether to sell at all. (Our take: He should sell regardless… but our job isn’t on the line.)

Smart depth options include Columbus’s David Savard, Buffalo’s Brandon Montour or Colin Miller, Detroit’s Marc Staal, and New Jersey’s Dmitry Kulikov.

Savard and Staal are the fearless, shot-blocking, penalty-killing types Toronto could use. The Leafs’ inconsistent PK has climbed to 18th overall (78.5 per cent).

Any deal Dubas makes will require creative cap management and likely some salary retention by the rebuilding team or a third party (Chicago is willing).

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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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