The Blue Jays head to Fenway for a two-game series against the surprisingly good Red Sox

Coming off of an ugly performance in Kansas City, the Blue Jays will play a two-game set with the best of the American League East which, just as we all expected, is the Boston Red Sox.

How they’re doing…
It’s only been a little over half a month, but the Red Sox are killing it this year. They’re 11-6, tied for the top spot in the American League, and they’re fresh off of kicking the shit out of Chicago White Sox ace Lucas Giolito.
The expectation was that Boston would be a middling team this year and that would score quite a few runs but also allow quite a few in return. So far, the offence has come even more than advertised, as Boston has the second-most runs-per-game in baseball, and the pitching has been better than expected, as their 3.70 team ERA is above league average.
Now, of course, a few-week-long hot streak shouldn’t mean all too much, but this team has a good base here with Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts, and we’ve certainly seen the Red Sox inexplicably fart their way to a successful season despite low expectation. 2013 comes …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe signing an NBA deal speaks to his fit long-term

Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe signing an NBA deal speaks to his fit long-term

Coming into the season, no one really knew what to make of Toronto Raptors two-way player Yuta Watanabe. He could defend some yes, but what position was he best served at? Furthermore, was he going to evolve his offensive game? Watanabe didn’t get off to the greatest start, but he soon found a foothold in […]
Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe signing an NBA deal speaks to his fit long-term – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Kahfeel Buchanan / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Frontcourt surprisingly leads Raptors to win over feisty Spurs team

Toronto Raptors: Frontcourt surprisingly leads Raptors to win over feisty Spurs team

The Toronto Raptors were able to get back in the win column, coming away with a 117-112 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Things were going to be difficult when it was announced that Toronto would be without five key players for this game. The Raptors were able to keep up and overcome a hungry Spurs […]
Toronto Raptors: Frontcourt surprisingly leads Raptors to win over feisty Spurs team – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nickeem Khan / Raptors HQ

TLN Three Stars: Leafs get caught in a trap game and lose in OT

TLN Three Stars: Leafs get caught in a trap game and lose in OT

The Leafs entered this game coming off one of their sloppiest performances of the season where they were unprepared to face a struggling Canadiens team. Twenty-four hours later, they had a new goalie make his first start with the team and it just so happened to be against his old club. David Rittich played well enough to keep Toronto in a game that proved to be a defensive slugfest where neither team was getting many quality chances. Aside from the Leafs botching yet another power-play and allowing the first goal of the contest, they played much better than the previous night.

#Leafs Power Play: Last 16 Games
Goals: 1Opportunities: 38Ice Time: 67:44Shots on Goal: 51Shot Attempts: 104
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 14, 2021

The game went into overtime where it took the Flames just 36 seconds to end it off a tally from Johnny Gaudreau. That equates to just one point out of a possible four during the back-to-back games.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Scott Sabourin
Sabourin has been with the Leafs’ taxi squad for the last few weeks getting in practices with the team and his hard work was finally rewarded as he made his season debut. Boy did he leave a good first …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: The power play? Yes, the power play!

Coming off an exciting win, the Toronto Maple Leafs were looking to take it back to back against the Calgary Flames and make a clean sweep on their road trip. With tonight’s 5-3 win, the Leafs remain first in the Scotia North Division with a four point lead in the standings. Tonight’s game started off pretty slow and quiet, and it looked like it was going to be one of those boring, ‘why did I stay up for this’ type of games, but that quickly changed as the puck dropped for the second period. From a 2-0 lead, to a 3-3 tie in the third, and then a power play goal (Yes, the power play drought is over!), the Leafs managed to hold on and take the W against the Flames.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Travis Dermott
Okay, Travis Dermott’s save on what would have been the first goal of the night, was quite the play. Just as the puck was about to make its way into the net, Dermott scooped it out, keeping the game at 0-0, and watching it in slow motion and in replay, I know we all took a sigh of relief. Dermott …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: First Line Magic

Coming off a tough OT loss to the Edmonton Oilers, and battling for the top spot of the Scotia North Division, the Toronto Maple Leafs were looking to get back in action as the puck dropped against the Winnipeg Jets for tonight’s game. The Leafs came in hot and heavy as they ended the first period with lots of good chances, outshooting the Jets 14-6, and a 2-0 lead with goals by Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman. The second period was a lot more even as the Jets started to get some scoring chances, but not much to show for it. Alexander Kerfoot managed to get a shorthanded goal as Josh Morrissey lost a puck battle, but answered right back as Morrissey got one past Jack Campbell less than a minute later. The period ended as the Jets were outshooting the Leafs 22-21, but the Leafs held on with a 3-1 lead. As the puck dropped for the third, you could tell that both teams wanted to keep the energy going. The Leafs had a few SOG, but weren’t able to get anything else past Connor Hellebuyck, or capitalize on yet another powerplay. The period ended as Paul …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation

Leafs face Oilers for final time in the regular season

Coming off a 4-3 OT win on Saturday, the Leafs take on the Oilers for one final time this (regular) season tonight, and they’ll be doing so with Michael Hutchinson in net. In the two teams’ games this season, the Leafs are 6-1-1, and all 3 of their goalies have played (and won) against the Oilers.
Saturday was arguably Jack Campbell’s shakiest game so far this season, and the team in front of him struggled to hit the net, as well; though they finally overcame a 2-goal deficit to tie the game at 3 apiece late in the third period. And Auston Matthews finally got over his snake bite, scoring the OT winner. While the Leafs are now on a 3-game winning streak, two of those three have been in overtime, which is not necessarily ideal when the divisional race is tight.
As the Leafs look to extend their winning streak, and hopefully pull it off in regulation, the Oilers are smarting from yet another loss to a team they want to get the best of. They’ll be hungry for the win, and with Hutchinson in net for the Leafs you can bet that Edmonton will try to …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: Justin Holl of all people? Yep.

Almost one week later, and the Buds are back. Coming off a lengthy break, the Toronto Maple Leafs made their way to the Canadian Tire Centre to take on the Ottawa Senators. As the puck dropped for the first period, the Leafs had a few good chances but the Senators’ 12th goalie in rotation, Anton Forsberg, kept the door shut. As the Battle of Ontario goes, the Senators ended the first period with a 1-0 lead from a goal by Connor Brown. Then, Ilya Mikheyev managed to tie it up in the second period with a goal that almost didn’t count. The Leafs managed to take their first lead of the game with Jason Spezza’s goal in the third, but the Senators answered right back just a few minutes later with a goal by Alex Formenton. By now you shouldn’t be surprised that such a strange game went to overtime. With 18 seconds left in OT, Justin Holl got the winner past Forsberg and the Leafs took the W.

It feels like a decade since the Leafs last scored a goal how long has it actually been???
— Mer (@MerOutLoud) March 26, 2021

When I say it was a strange game, …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs place Travis Boyd on waivers

After coming off a big win on Saturday night, the Leafs decided to place on of better players in their bottom-six on waivers this afternoon.

Travis Boyd (TOR) has been placed on waivers.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 21, 2021

Part of why Travis Boys was put on waivers is to give the Leafs roster flexibility and easily move him between the main roster and taxi squad, similar to how Jason Spezza has been utilized throughout this season.  But with Boyd playing better than expected, Toronto runs the risk of him getting claimed by another team that would be in need of offensive depth.
If that were to be the case, that would make him the second Leaf this week to be snagged up by another team after Jimmy Vesey got claimed by the Vancouver Canucks.
Boyd has recorded three goals, five assists, and eight points in 20 games played. All we can do now is hope for the best that he doesn’t have to pack his bags and head elsewhere in 24 hours time.
All stats unless otherwise noted are from Hockey-Reference.com

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Practice Shenanigans: Simmonds closer to return, Galchenyuk in the top six, Campbell participates in practice

Practice Shenanigans: Simmonds closer to return, Galchenyuk in the top six, Campbell participates in practice

In the wake of the Jimmy Vesey era coming to an abrupt end, today’s practice saw quite a lot happen and we may just see some changes to the lineup for this upcoming weekend.
First, it sounds like Wayne Simmonds is nearly set to make his return:

Both Wayne Simmonds and Alex Galchenyuk wearing regular sweaters as Leafs practice gets underway
(Defence starting on another pad)@TSN_Edge pic.twitter.com/GClhQRxSBd
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 17, 2021

Getting him back will be a huge boost to the Leafs lineup as they have surely missed his presence both on and off the ice. It also gives their power-play the net-front presence that was lacking in the six weeks he spent on the shelf. We don’t know for sure if Simmonds will be able to continue on his hot streak that had been put on pause by his injury, but he will no doubt bring new life to a team that desperately needs it right now.
The Alex Galchenyuk era begins
In the same aforementioned tweet, Galchenyuk participated in practice wearing a blue jersey, which indicates he will make his debut in the top six. He played well with the Marlies …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation