TLN Three Stars: Unknown 16-year-old gets past security, scores hat trick against Avs

This had all the makings of a bad game for the Leafs.
It’s their first game back in Toronto after a four game road trip that they swept. They’re up against a dominant Avalanche team. Nathan MacKinnon is playing his first game back from injury. Nazem Kadri is on a tear and coming back to play in his old barn. They had their third stringer in net after an injury to Darcy Kuemper forced their hand, with the potential for an EBUG. It just seemed like the kind of game the Leafs would lose.
Not only did they not lose the game, they blew the Avalanche out of the water. It started out with one of their best periods of the season in the first as they exploded for a 3-0 lead, and while the Avs tried to get themselves back into the game with a couple goals to make it 3-2, the Leafs quickly got back up to a three goal lead, and then kept adding to it, resulting in an 8-3 win. While the goaltending for the Avs wasn’t the strongest, resulting in the lopsided score, the underlying numbers were well in the Leafs favour …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

What will the ideal Raptors rotation look like when everyone is healthy?

What will the ideal Raptors rotation look like when everyone is healthy?

The Toronto Raptors have yet to play a game at full strength this year, as the vengeful fingers of the NBA gods appear to have decided to once again saddle this team with a boatload of injuries. While Fred VanVleet has remained healthy, stars like Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, and OG Anunoby have missed time […]
What will the ideal Raptors rotation look like when everyone is healthy? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors SF Yuta Watanabe has awesome response after blocking dunk

Raptors SF Yuta Watanabe has awesome response after blocking dunk

The Toronto Raptors have yet to play a game with all of their key rotation pieces healthy, as Yuta Watanabe missed the first 18 games of the season due to a calf injury. The Japanese forward was finally healthy enough to make his season debut against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies. While Raptors fans […]
Raptors SF Yuta Watanabe has awesome response after blocking dunk – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors: What will Yuta Watanabe’s role be when he returns?

Raptors: What will Yuta Watanabe’s role be when he returns?

The Toronto Raptors haven’t played a single game this season with every member of the rotation fully healthy. Even as Pascal Siakam returns to the fold, Yuta Watanabe has yet to play in a game this season due to a calf injury. Considering the momentum he picked up at the end of last year, this […]
Raptors: What will Yuta Watanabe’s role be when he returns? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Joseph Woll’s debut will provide the Leafs with an assessment opportunity

Perhaps it’s a little defeatist to go into a game prioritizing the learning experience over the chance of winning, but when it comes to a 23 year old goaltender who hasn’t been outstanding at the AHL level and hasn’t had a minute of NHL time, I think it’s okay to gear up for a Sheldon Keefe lesson game instead of a win.
This weekend will mark the NHL debut of Joseph Woll. It will likely come on Saturday night against the Sabres, but Keefe could prefer to save Campbell for Saturday night and give Woll his debut against Calgary, which would does seem less likely given the Flames being the tougher competition, the home game, and has the elevated stature of being the Hall of Fame game as well. So yeah, count on Woll playing Saturday.
When it comes to Woll, what we’ve seen so far is a guy starting his third season in the AHL and he still hasn’t cracked the ,900 save percentage mark. His busiest year came as an AHL rookie, seeing 32 games, and was limited to just 15 games last year in the wonky Canadian AHL reboot. Three games in this year, Woll …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leaflets: 10 Games, 10 Takes

Here we are at the magical 10 game mark that allows us to begin having opinions on how the season is going. The last three games have done wonders in bringing the Leafs back around to the okayish mark, and we’re no longer panicking about a 2-4-1 team. Now they are the definition of average with a 5-4-1 record that is trending upwards. Of course there hasn’t been a lot to be afraid of in the first 10 games when it comes to competition. The Habs team they played was missing Carey Price and others. The Penguins team (that blew them out) was missing Crosby, Malkin, Letang, and Carter. The Blackhawks didn’t start Fleury, and Kane was out. The Golden Knights were without Stone, Karlsson, Pacioretty, Whitecloud, Patrick, and Tuch. Even the Red Wings had to leave Bertuzzi at the border because he values Facebook science over his teammates. Throw in the Tkachuk-less Senators, and it is painfully clear that the 5-4-1 isn’t so much average as it is the bare minimum.
Since we’re at the 10 game mark I feel it’s about time to drop some takes based on the team this season …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Making sense of the Leafs’ recent drop in attendance

On Monday night, the Leafs played a game against an American team for the first time since Game 5 against the Blue Jackets. It was an exciting affair where they dominated from start to finish and included Auston Matthews’ return, but they were undone in overtime by the Rangers’ star Artemi Panarin.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle of that game was the emergence of a new trend to begin this season: the Leafs have yet to record a sellout at Scotiabank Arena.

18,098 at Scotiabank Arena tonight. Maple Leafs yet to sell out a game this season.
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) October 19, 2021

To put into perspective the percentage of tickets sold for the first three games, the Leafs had a 98.3% capacity for their season opener, 96.8% for Saturday’s game, and 96.2% for their most recent contest. By comparison, the majority of American teams have been posting strong attendance numbers while every other Canadian team (with the lone exception being the Canadiens) has not had a sellout crowd.
Upon first glance, this drop in attendance could be a result of a few key factors.
There is the obvious one of the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on and there are several fans who remain hesitant to …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

News and Notes: Matthews returns, new lines, and a couple of injury updates

Following last night’s game which included the apparently unforgivable act of having a student athlete sit on the bench instead of an AHL goaltender, the Leafs have closed out the necessary steps in bringing in Michael Hutchinson as their emergency call up goaltender.
As expected, the Leafs bring up Michael Hutchinson

Whether your issues are that the Leafs shouldn’t have had to wait a game to do this, or if you are offended that the Leafs spend to the salary cap, you can take a deep breath and recognize that it didn’t really matter, and the worst that could have happened was Alex Bishop could have had the night of his life, and we would have been treated to a nice story at the cost of 1/82nd of the results of the regular season.
Mrazek will be out 14 days, which means six games. There are back to back games Friday and Saturday night this week, so it seems likely that Michael Hutchinson will get the start Saturday in Pittsburgh. If he sees anytime in net beyond that it will depend on the health and play of Jack Campbell.
Beyond Mrazek, there are a couple of other injury …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Late goal from Amadio gives the Leafs another preseason win in Ottawa

For the second game in a row, we got some preseason action from the Leafs’ “best of the rest”, as the highlights of the roster featured Justin Holl and Alexander Kerfoot, while all the players on the fringes battled it out for the remaining spots in the lineup.
Unlike last game, the competition wouldn’t be quite as easy, as they’d be up against most of the Ottawa Senators NHL lineup. I mean, it’s still pretty easy, just not as easy as their AHL lineup like last time.
Not surprisingly, this group managed to hold their own, never really finding themselves hemmed in by Ottawa, and keeping the score close despite lacking the obvious finishing talent. From a long term perspective, it’s not a bad thing to have practice with if the Leafs get a couple injuries from the big guns. They kept it close and competitive, and capitalized on their chances when they got them.
The scoring didn’t open until the second, when Pierre Engvall of all people got a power play goal with a really nice shot. He also managed to get another shot off like that later in the period, but no goal …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Penalty troubles dig Leafs into a deep hole early in 5-2 preseason loss to Habs

Leafs had another strong game at 5 on 5, but a slew of penalties early in the game put the Leafs in an early 2-0 hole that they couldn’t recover from, and they found themselves on the losing end of the scoresheet.
Of course, it’s preseason, so who really cares.
Jack Campbell got the start in net and didn’t look amazing, although you can’t really fault him on any of the goals except for maybe the first one. He was amazing last season, but of course there will be some concern about if he can maintain that for a full season, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. The penalty killing didn’t look too hot either, but none of the defensemen are really mainstays on the penalty kill, but it kept up that aggressive play from Saturday and had several chances of their own.
Despite the loss, they were probably the better team, and that’s because a lot of the players had really strong games. Mitch Marner was creating chances like he always does, and his shot looked at least somewhat threatening, which overall is encouraging considering how much scrutiny he got in …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation