Game #5 Recap: Maple Leafs are one win away from closing out series against Lightning

In all honesty, I didn’t think I’d be sitting here discussing a Maple Leafs 4-3 win over the Lightning, but here I am.
For the first time in this series there has finally been a lead change during a game and for Toronto fans, it luckily came at the right moment. And now, they’re one win away from moving onto the second round.
It felt different walking around downtown Toronto on Tuesday night. The Maple Leafs have a chance to close out the series against the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions on Thursday night.
As fans exited Scotiabank Arena and Maple Leaf Square, they were chanting “Leafs in Six!” The excitement around the city hasn’t been felt since before the pandemic and it honestly feels like the city is coming back to life.
Fans hugging and high-fiving each other, groups of people hugging and dancing in Maple Leaf Square — it feels normal — with a hint of excitement.
The Gifs
Let’s remember how we got here.
The game began with two unfortunate bounces going the Lightning’s way. The first came on a shot from Steven Stamkos which beat Jack Campbell over the blocker.

Steven Stamkos. 1-0 pic.twitter.com/EFD8wUXSOq
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 10, 2022

The puck bounces over a number of sticks before falling to Stamkos for his second goal of this series.
Under a minute later, Victor Hedman’s point shot somehow finds its way through all of the traffic in front of the net and past Campbell.

Victor Hed …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Bluelines: Keep the good times rollin’

Jon Cooper thinks the Lightning didn’t play well on Monday night. He’s right there. He also didn’t think it took much effort from the Leafs to beat Tampa. Let’s hope he’s right there too and that the Leafs have more effort to give in order to face a likely more determined and prepared Tampa team.
The Leafs at -136 on the moneyline
The Leafs continue to be the favourites, between the game one win and the return of Michael Bunting their odds seem to have improved. Tampa is paying at a +115, in contrast.
Alex Kerfoot has been buzzin’
Alex Kerfoot is definitely establishing himself as a player who steps up come playoff time, and if you want to bank on him doing that, a goal from Kerf pays +550 tonight.
Auston and Mitch have the monkeys off their back
Both Auston and Mitch found the scoresheet immediately in Game one, and if you want to see if they can keep the good times rolling, three point nights for Matthews go at +400 and Marner pays at +450. A goal for Matthews is still the safest bet at +165.
More from TheLeafsNation.com
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: Who has the advantage on the blueline? by Kyle Cushman
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: The goaltending factor by Mark Norman
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: The Leafs have the edge over the Lightning with forwards by Jon Steitzer
POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIOPointsBet Canada has officially launched in Ontario! Get a $25 free bet just for signing up right here! …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors fans roast Goran Dragic after laughing at Toronto’s exit

Raptors fans roast Goran Dragic after laughing at Toronto’s exit

I really wish that Goran Dragic didn’t keep interjecting his name into Toronto Raptors news. However, the Croatian veteran opened his mouth once again after Toronto’s season came to a close following their defeat against the Philadelphia 76ers. He was just giddy watching the Raptors lose. There is no shame in losing how the Raptors […]
Raptors fans roast Goran Dragic after laughing at Toronto’s exit – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The depth of skill on the Leafs should make life easier for their star offensive talent

The last time the Leafs were in the playoffs it didn’t go so well. This is a statement that seems to ring true every year, but last year seemed to carry with it the highest expectations of a season since the glory days of Pat Quinn. Frankly, the Leafs weren’t supposed to lose, and whether you want to brush it off as Carey Price playing some of the best hockey of his career, or the impact of losing players like Tavares and Muzzin, and others like Hyman and Foligno not being at 100%, the decision is up to you, but with Tavares out of the round due to his injury, and the Canadiens effectively neutralizing the Matthews and Marner line, it really just left William Nylander to carry the load. That didn’t work, and there probably needs to be steps taken to avoid that happening again.
One of the things that perhaps needs to be addressed is that the Canadiens didn’t really shut down the Matthews-Marner-Hyman line. Carey Price did. Ben Chiarot certainly threw some hits, but it didn’t impede Matthews, Hyman, and Marner being 3 of the …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 69: What a nice time! Kevin Gausman’s masterclass, offence from the depth guys, and more!

It’s a shame this episode didn’t come one day earlier.

The Blue Jays rolled into Boston this week and took two of three from the Red Sox, a big win considering this was a team that Toronto struggled with last season.
Things started off poorly as an error from Bo Bichette late in the first game ultimately helped the Red Sox win a game in which Toronto’s bats were completely limp. In the second game, the offence woke up thanks to some contributions from some unexpected sources. Finally, the third game featured a Kevin Gausman masterclass that nearly came unraveled in the ninth.
We talked about all of the good stuff from this nice series and then looked ahead to the next series in Houston with the Astros.
You can listen to the episode here…

POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIO

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors’ Scottie Barnes makes his case for Rookie of the Year

Raptors’ Scottie Barnes makes his case for Rookie of the Year

The Toronto Raptors didn’t take long to bounce back into the postseason after one season in the lottery, and the performance of standout rookie Scottie Barnes is a huge reason why. An immediate starter and difference-maker, Barnes should be the 2022 Rookie of the Year. His main competition for this award comes in the form […]
Raptors’ Scottie Barnes makes his case for Rookie of the Year – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

American League Preview: Despite a really weird off-season, the Yankees (if healthy!) are still quite good

The New York Yankees didn’t operate like the New York Yankees this winter.

Generally, it’s a foregone conclusion that the Yanks are going to open their wallets and sign one of the best players on the free-agent market any given off-season, especially after the team has a disappointing result in the post-season, as they did last fall when they got shoved aside by the Red Sox in the Wild-Card Game.
A couple of years ago, it seemed inevitable that the Yankees would go out and sign Gerrit Cole, the top pitcher on the market. And that’s exactly what they did. Last winter, they were in the mix for all of the top names, but their big splash was re-signing DJ LeMahieu after a pair of MVP-calibre seasons.
This winter, Carlos Correa was the player that Yankee fans were photoshopping into pinstripes, manifesting it as an automatic that Houston’s star shortstop would come to New York. The team had a gaping need at short and Correa would fill that void, because of course he would, it’s the Yankees were talkin’ about here!
Well…

What happened over the off-season…
It was The Year of the Shortstop, featuring Correa, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Javier Baez on the open market, and the Yankees wound up with Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
The Texas Rangers threw $600 million combined at Seager and Semien to build a new middle infield, Baez signed with the up-and-coming Detroit Tigers right before the start of the lockout back in December, and then, after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached, Story signed with New York’s biggest rival and Correa wound up with the small-market Minnesota Twins.
Winding up with none of those aforementioned shortstops certainly wasn’t in any Yankee fan’s off-season blueprints, and the situation that ultimatel …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The short-term solution to the Maple Leafs’ goaltending situation

I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but Erik Källgren and Michael Hutchinson could be the Maple Leafs netminders for the short-term future.
Yes, you read that right.
The Toronto Marlies are in Abbotsford for a set of games against the Canucks. After Petr Mrazek suffered an injury on Tuesday night in Boston, Hutchinson, who was supposed to start for the Marlies was held out of their game.
Next in line would’ve been Keith Petruzzelli, who’s currently under an AHL contract and has spent time with both the Marlies and Newfoundland Growlers. (If he was to be signed, he wouldn’t be able to go back down to the Marlies this season.)
However, he was also held out of this game due to precautionary reasons because of an illness. You also might be wondering where Joseph Woll might be, well, he’s also out with a shoulder injury.
So, the Marlies entered Tuesday night’s game in Abbotsford with two EBUGs (Emergency Back-Up Goalie).
Tavin Grant last played in 2017 with the Prince George Cougars of the WHL, posting a .892 SV% in 37GP. Talor Joseph is coming from Trinity Western University, where the 27-year-old had an .876 SV% in 12 games this past season. Each were signed to ATOs on Tuesday.
Funny side note: Joseph was called in on Tuesday afternoon to join the Marlies for their game in Abbotsford later …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

1 stud and 1 dud as Pascal Siakam leads Raptors in win vs. Celtics

1 stud and 1 dud as Pascal Siakam leads Raptors in win vs. Celtics

Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors didn’t get the heavyweight confrontation against the Boston Celtics that many were looking forward to, as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were ruled out before the game. Surely this made things easier for a Raptors team reintegrating Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. back into the lineup, right? Wrong! […]
1 stud and 1 dud as Pascal Siakam leads Raptors in win vs. Celtics – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Pre-2022 Blue Jays Top Prospect Countdown – No 11: Adam Kloffenstein

There’s no sugarcoating it, Adam Kloffenstein didn’t have a great season in 2021. He’s one of the only few players that made my list where his potential outweighs his poor results.
Background:
The 6’5, 243 pound right hander certainly fits the mold of what the Blue Jays like in a pitcher, tall and athletic. The 21-year-old was drafted in the third round of the 2018 draft, along with fellow Magnolia High School senior, Jordan Groshans.
Kloffenstein started his professional career in 2019, pitching with the Short Season A Vancouver Canadians. The then 19-year-old pitched 64.1 innings and had a solid ERA of 2.24 with a FIP of 3.73, despite being -3.3 years younger than the average pitcher at that level.
There was a lot to like in his debut season, such as his 8.95 K/9 and a 3.22 BB/9. Kloffenstein also had a ground ball percentage of 60.1%, which is a good combination when paired with his strikeout prowess. It’s important to remember that FIP doesn’t favour ground ball pitchers.
Kloffenstein’s 2021:
The then 20-year-old pitched 101.1 innings with the High A Vancouver Canadians, posting a 6.22 ERA and 5.16 FIP. His K/9 increased to 9.5, while his BB/9 jumped to a staggering 5.42. His ground ball percentage also dropped to 53%, which is still very high, but noticeable. The biggest issue in 2021 for the young pitcher was the inability to command the fastball.
Not just that, but when a …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation