Is it time for the Maple Leafs to worry about Matt Murray’s inconsistent play?

If you had one word to describe the Maple Leafs and Panthers game on Tuesday night, which word would you use?
Mine is definitely drunk.
The game started off fairly weird with Carter Verhaeghe scoring his first goal against the team that drafted him back in 2013.
That really should’ve been the first warning sign that this game was going to get a bit funky.
Not even a minute later, Dryden Hunt finds the back of the net for Toronto. Why does that matter? Well, Hunt actually signed an entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers in 2016. That was also his first goal against the team that brought him into the NHL.
Weird, right? Well, no, it actually became much more exciting after the pair of goals. Shoutout to the refs, too, for making it fun. Kind of.

Florida really pushed Toronto in the first half of the game. It felt like we were seeing the Panthers of last year until the Maple Leafs began to play as they have for most of this season.
You can see in the graph above that Toronto carried the expected goals in all situations throughout the game. But there was a massive shift, even more in favour of the Maple Leafs, halfway through the second period.
They dominated the game after that and were relentless on the forecheck. We cannot forget about Ilya Samsono …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

‘I hate losing more than I like winning’: Keith Petruzzelli’s contract with the Leafs and the moment he will remember forever

‘I hate losing more than I like winning’: Keith Petruzzelli’s contract with the Leafs and the moment he will remember forever

It was just another game in Belleville. Except this time, it wasn’t.
After spending a year bouncing back and forth between the Newfoundland Growlers and Toronto Marlies, Keith Petruzzelli was ready to enter this season in one spot. The AHL.
Little did he know what was coming his way.
Erik Kallgren and Petruzzelli began the season as the Marlies’ two main goaltenders. It was expected that Kallgren would get more of the games, but they would be pretty split between the two.
That was quickly short-lived though as Kallgren — 27-and-a-half minutes into the first game of the season — was crashed into by Rochester’s Ethan Prow.

Erik Kallgren gets run over by Ethan Prow and has since gone to the dressing room.
Dylan Ferguson is coming into the net for the #Marlies. pic.twitter.com/iy9P5loRL6
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) October 15, 2022

Toronto’s third goaltender at the time, Dylan Ferguson, came in to replace the 26-year-old goaltender for the remainder of the game. Luckily, Kallgren would be okay.
The following day, Matt Murray took the ice at Scotiabank Arena for the Maple Leafs’ morning skate. Except he left 10 minutes after he stepped onto the ice surface with what we now know was a groin injury.
Toronto needed another goaltender for the game that night and the coming weeks, so that meant Kallgren would head to the NHL. In turn, that also indicated that Petruzzelli would be the Marlies’ number one goalie for the foreseeable future.
He held the reins.
The 23-year-old was pulling out win after win in his second year of professional hockey. Petruzzelli’s confidence grew throughout every game and it didn’t seem like the belief in himself wou …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Matinee madness: James van Riemsdyk raising trade stock as Flyers visit Maple Leafs

Matinee madness: James van Riemsdyk raising trade stock as Flyers visit Maple Leafs

Who’s excited for a weekday matinee game at Scotiabank Arena?

James van Riemsdyk and the Philadelphia Flyers will take to the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 2:00 p.m. ET on Thursday. Toronto currently ranks second in the Atlantic Division with a 20–7–6 record; Philadelphia’s 11–15–7 start has them seventh in the Metropolitan Division.
The two teams previously faced off in Toronto on November 2, with Maple Leafs captain John Tavares netting a hat trick to help his team capture a 5–2 victory. Ilya Samsonov made 23 saves for the Maple Leafs in that game and is expected to start again on Thursday.
JVR has been one of the Flyers’ hottest players of late, leading the team with seven points in his last five games (including a four-point outing against the Arizona Coyotes on December 11). The 33-year-old forward has five goals and 12 points in 13 games with the Flyers this season and, as a pending UFA, is currently one of the team’s top trade chips.
Of course, van Riemsdyk previously rode shotgun with the likes of Phil Kessel and Auston Matthews with the Maple Leafs from 2012–13 to 2018–19. The big winger is in the final season of the five-year UFA deal with an average annual value of $7 million that he signed with the Flyers back in 2019.
Throughout his time in Toronto (and both his tenures in Philadelphia), van Riemsdyk mad …

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Author: Mike Gould / The Leafs Nation

3 ways Raptors have benefitted from the Kyle Lowry trade

3 ways Raptors have benefitted from the Kyle Lowry trade

Every Toronto Raptors game against the Miami Heat for the next couple of seasons is going to be an emotional affair, as seeing Kyle Lowry in those vibrant City Edition uniforms is always going to be an unusual sight. Seeing the GROAT with Miami across his chest just looks wrong. Lowry appeared ready to move […]
3 ways Raptors have benefitted from the Kyle Lowry trade – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

A nihilist’s season preview for the Leafs

A nihilist’s season preview for the Leafs

Here we are at the Leafs first game of the season. In many ways, this feels like it should be a meaningful day, but frankly, it hits just about the same as the start of the preseason. I’ll tune in. I write about the Leafs, so I should probably watch them play, but I don’t know if there is much excitement that comes from committing to a season that is about 20 games too long and will ultimately get us to the same place, the Leafs will finish somewhere in the top three in their division, and somehow 4th or 5th in the league, and then something will finally be put on the line as we see if the Leafs are now 19 years removed from a second round appearance or if the mocking of the Leafs needs to revert to the standard 1967 reminder that admittedly I’m far more comfortable with.
That’s not to say that there aren’t storylines to care about with the regular season. Whether Kyle Dubas was active enough for you or not in the offseason, the fact that he’s given Toronto two new goaltenders to hastily develop misinformed opinions on is a bit of a blessing. Last year the g …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Aaron Judge hits home run No. 61 as Yankees spank Blue Jays in series finale

Kevin Gausman said after Monday’s game that he didn’t want to be the answer to a trivia question regarding Aaron Judge’s (potential) 61st home run of the 2022 season. While Gausman avoided that label, there is finally an answer.

That man is Tim Mayza.

61 years since 61.
Aaron Judge has written his name alongside Roger Maris in baseball’s record books. pic.twitter.com/1V4Gums34C
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 29, 2022

Judge battled through an 8 pitch at-bat with Mayza, and eventually deposited a 94 mph sinker into the Blue Jays bullpen. While he has only tied the record for most home runs in a single season, it absolutely sucks that this happened in Toronto. Glass half full, I think we can all look at the silver lining in all of this and be grateful that Zack Hample wasn’t able to collect the home run ball.
Judge also put Roger Maris Jr. out of his misery, as every camera shot of Maris Jr. showed a man who couldn’t wait to be home.
Judge’s legendary moment came amidst some glaring momentum shifts throughout the game. The Yankees were in complete control through the first five innings. Mitch White walked the first two batters he faced en route to allowing three runs in the first inning. He pitched 3.2 innings total, only allowing those three runs, but eight baserunners.
His opposition, Gerrit Cole, cruised through five perfect innings in only 54 pitches, as the Blue Jays only managed to produce two batted ball outs in the air.
It was the sixth inning, however, that Cole imploded and let Toronto right back int …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Another bullpen meltdown results in the Blue Jays splitting the two-game series in Philly

Last night’s game was exciting in its own way. The Blue Jays and the Phillies combined for 29 runs, Jackie Bradley Jr. homered, and position players pitched. Tonight, it was a pitcher’s duel for seven innings, followed by the Blue Jays blowing a late 3-0 lead.

Unfortunately, Philadelphia ended up winning tonight’s contest 4-3, as Matt Vierling capped off a 5-for-5 night with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning. Jordan Romano blew his second consecutive save, the first time in his career that that has happened, and Yimi Garcia continued to show some concerning signs as the bullpen couldn’t back up a great start from Kevin Gausman.

Blue Jays bullpen: Last 6 games
ERA 8.51Opponents AVG .306WHIP 1.81
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) September 22, 2022

So, how did we get there?
The game seemed in hand in the 8th inning for the Blue Jays, as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. smoked a 3-run home run off of Phillies reliever Seranthony Dominguez to give Toronto a 3-0 lead. No one had scored through the first seven innings of the game, but Guerrero Jr. quickly ended that trend with his 30th home run, now only 12 RBIs shy of a 30-100 season. Guerrero also drove his hitting streak to 14 games, amidst what most would call a “slump” considering how much he is hitting the ball on the ground.
If you’re in for a good laugh, Guerrero absolutely deflated the emotions of the Phillies’ broadcasters with that home run…

“Oh man.” pic.twitter.com/glLtSbZOta
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) September 22, 2022

The …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Angels blank Blue Jays for second straight day, spoil anniversary of 1992 World Series team

Today’s game between the Blue Jays and the Angels included a day-long celebration of the 30 year anniversary of the 1992 World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays.

Multiple Blue Jays legends were recognized on the Sportsnet broadcast such as Dave Stieb, Mike Timlin, Joe Carter, Pat Borders and many more. All of those aforementioned names were spectators for an absolute duel between two of the MLB’s best pitchers in Alek Manoah and Shohei Ohtani. Unfortunately, they couldn’t celebrate a win, as the Angels defeated Toronto 2-0, shutting out the Blue Jays for a second straight day.
Both pitchers were on their game from the jump, as they both pitched to their strengths. Ohtani blew batters away with his 98+ mph fastballs and his wipeout splitter/slider, while Manoah had plenty of movement on his fastballs and sliders. They both also had to overcome long first innings by their standards; Manoah and Ohtani threw 25 and 28 pitches, respectively.
Their final lines were very similar, but the biggest difference was that Manoah was the first to blink as he allowed an RBI single to Luis Rengifo in the top of the 6th. The inning could’ve looked a little different had one play gone their way; with runners on first and second with no outs, Ohtani ground …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Alek Manoah and Gerrit Cole beef as Yankees avoid sweep with 4-2 Sunday win

In an attempt to sweep a four game series in the Bronx just like the 2021 Jays did last September, the 2022 Jays fell a little short. The Yankees got the best of Toronto today 4-2 behind a late two-run home run from Andrew Benintendi. It was Benintendi’s first home run as Yankee (because of course), and only his fourth on the season.

Alek Manoah was the starting pitcher for the Blue Jays today in a ballpark where he has been very successful during his young career. While he was very good today, his defense surely did not help him through the early stages of the game.
In the first inning, with Anthony Rizzo on first, DJ LeMahieu shot a ball into left field for a single. Rizzo advanced to third on the play, but left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. tried to rush a throw to Matt Chapman at third base. Gurriel short hopped the throw, and Chapman was unable to get to it. The ball got away, and Rizzo scored. Gurriel was charged with the error, but Manoah wasn’t charged with the run.
Whit Merrifield would even things up at 1 in the top …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-Series Notes: New Blue Jays make home debuts, Canadian Cal Quantrill returns to face his childhood team

Coming off two days rest and riding a two game losing streak into tonight, it feels like the Blue Jays haven’t won a game in forever. That said, they still hold the top spot in the American League wild card race with a record of 60-50.
Meanwhile the Guardians have won five in a row to take the lead in the AL Central. The tightest division race in the Majors, the Central still has three teams battling for the division crown. The Minnesota Twins trail the Guardians by just 1.5 games and the Chicago White Sox are 3.5 back.
The Jays will be looking for revenge after losing two of three in Cleveland back in May.
Things Worth Mentioning…
A pair of Blue Jays will be making their home debut tonight.

Whit Merrifield (2B) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF) will make their #BlueJays home debut starting tonight. pic.twitter.com/NVdbg7HgdB
— Ben Wagner (@benwag247) August 12, 2022

George Springer is still on IL so Bradley Jr. will start in center and Merrifield will make his first start at second for the Jays. One of the best defensive CF’s of the last decade Bradley Jr. provides plus defence and speed with a below average bat. He did however hit two home runs in his last series against the Blue Jays while he was with the Red Sox. In 92 games this year he is slashing .210/.257/.321 with three home runs.
One of the favourites for the AL Rookie of the Year, Steven Kwan is on a tear recently.

.@CleGuardians OF Steven Kwan has now hit safely in 26 of the last 29 games
Tale of the tape:
.358 (42 hits) 9 doubles 1 triple 2 HR 8 RBI 12 multi-hit games; 5 three-hit games pic.twitter.com/wJJZW94DEx
— Jensen Lewis (@JLEWFifty) August 11, 2022

In his debut season, Kwan it batting .300 …

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Author: Scott Ony / Blue Jays Nation