Game #4 Recap: Lightning overwhelm the Leafs 7-3 to tie the series

After the Leafs took the 2-1 series lead in Game 3 on Friday, they had to know that the Lightning would come back fighting hard in Game 4 last night. Perhaps that fear and anticipation was a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the Lightning wiped the floor with Toronto as they did in Game 2.
When the Lightning got to the early lead, it felt almost like fate. The Leafs were meant to lose this one, badly, to charge them up for Game 5 at home (or so I hope, at least). Here was the first one, a one-time clapper from Steven Stamkos:

Stamkos gets one going fast! #StanleyCup | #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/8OQrscoOWg
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 8, 2022

The misfortune continued from there and, since this is The Leafs Nation, I’ll spare you having to scroll through all of the gifs of the Lightning goals that eventually put them up 5-0, and then 7-3 with the two empy netters.
As the Leafs won Game 3 with just 3 goals past Andrei Vasilevskiy, the Lightning beat Jack Campbell for 5 in the first two periods and their other 2 were on an empty net. Erik Kallgren came into the game in relief of Campbell to re-energize the team, and stopped all 8 shots he faced.
And just like they had in Game 2, the Leafs were able to get a few consolation goals. Meaningless for this game, but a reminder that you can score against this team, and something to carry into the next game. The Leafs again scored 3 on one of the best playoff goalies around in Vasilevskiy, but it wasn’t enough.
Here were the two goals scored by the previously goal-less William Nylander:

William Nylander gets the Leafs pic.twitter.com/tUmqMZcrbo
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 9, 2022

Another one for Willy!
Nylander and Tavares combine for the @MapleLeafs 2nd of the night
pic.twitter.com/qChERoajh4
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) May 9, 2022

Jake Muzzin got a third one with a beautiful point shot:

Jake Muzzin gets a shot through traffic pic.twitter.com/7JSFcMf5hZ
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 9, 2022

Last night’s loss was a disappointing effort, but it’s part of a …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Leafs look to extend streak against surging LA Kings

After not blowing a 4-1 lead to the Boston Bruins on Saturday (and avoiding the re-traumatization of a legion of fans), the Leafs are sitting pretty with a five game win streak. All of the top-end players are performing, the defence has been solid, and while there are legitimate concerns about secondary scoring from depth players, the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking like the team we all thought they’d be.
The opponent in tonight’s matchup, for the first time since March 5th 2020, is the LA Kings. After a six game losing streak just after the start of the season, the Kings roll into Toronto sporting a four game win streak of their own, so someone’s run of wins will end tonight. Currently wracked with a long list of injured players, and a few players in COVID protocol, the Kings do not look scary on paper, but however, keep in mind that this is Trevor Moore’s first game back in Toronto since being traded to LA.

Money on the board tonight?
Trevor Moore: “Yeah, for sure”
— Mike Stephens (@mikeystephens81) November 8, 2021

You want more potential storylines for tonight? This is Phillip Danault’s return to Scotiabank Arena for …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Tavares, Nylander end droughts, Matthews extends point streak to 15 in 7-3 blowout vs the Sens

After a blown lead on Monday and a game that was closer than it needed to be last night, the Leafs finally had the kind of game we expected against the Sens, as all of the big guns would show up in a 7-3 blowout. There were a lot of goals to cover, so let’s get right into it.
It was a high scoring first period as the Leafs made sure to get a quick lead to support Hutchinson’s season debut. They got a couple powerplays to start the game, and capitalized on the second one with another Auston Matthews goal, who gets his 15th of the season, and extends his point streak to 15 games as well.

pic.twitter.com/UCG8CfUpzF
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 19, 2021

The Sens ran into a bit of goalie trouble after that, as Marcus Hogberg got hurt and Matt Murray, who played last night. Don’t worry, there was no David Ayres in this game to give the Leafs any trouble.
The Matthews goal was the only goal for most of the first, but the floodgates opened up late. First, the Leafs made it 2-0 as Joe Thornton deflects a Jake Muzzin a slap …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Major League Baseball will apparently use bubble cities for the playoffs

Following the lead of the NHL and the NBA, Major League Baseball is reportedly planning to use bubble cities for the playoffs this fall.

Per Jeff Passan, the plan is for American League teams to play in Los Angeles and San Diego, while the National League teams will play in Arlington and Houston. It isn’t specified whether the Los Angeles park will be Angels Stadium or Dodger Stadium, but I would guess the latter given that the goal here seems to be avoiding anybody having home-field advantage.
This makes a lot of sense as MLB surely wants to avoid any kind of outbreak of COVID-19 happening during the playoffs when there isn’t any room for error. The NHL and NBA have done an excellent job executing their playoffs in bubble environments, so there’s a clear lead here for MLB to follow.
The best part about this for the Blue Jays? No possibility of playing a playoff game at The Trop!

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Scott’s Thoughts: The Leafs stepped up, can they finish the job?

To end my last column, I said that the blown lead only coming in Game 3 provided the Leafs with an opportunity to step up and prove to us and themselves that this team was different.
With Game 7 against Boston in 2013, it was over for the Leafs, that was it. They didn’t get that second opportunity to prove themselves until four months later with an entirely different team.
The difference is that it isn’t over for this Leafs team. They have a chance tonight, and if they play it well, they have another one on Sunday. This is where they prove to themselves and to everybody that they have what it takes.
They have an opportunity with their backs against the wall to step up, and overcome this heartbreak. Or, they’ll sit back, let the Blue Jackets beat them in Game 4, and it’s over.
The choice is theirs.
And for a while, it looked like it was the latter. While the Leafs weren’t getting dominated in the game as far as possession goes (it was pretty even in the first, and the Leafs dominated the second, even when you factor in …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

The Curse of The Trop continues as the Blue Jays lose another heartbreaking game

A 4-2 lead with two outs in the ninth inning. Seems easy enough. Not when you’re playing at The House of Horrors. Nothing can ever be easy there.

Things worth mentioning…

There’s a lot to talk about after that game. Where to begin?!
I’ll start off with the good stuff, like how we ended up in the ninth inning with a lead. Thomas Hatch made his first-career start and looked much better than a guy who was traded for a few innings of David Phelps. Hatch went two-and-a-third, allowing just two walks while picking up three strikeouts. After that, Anthony Kay came into the game and went two-and-a-third, allowing just one run, which came when Ji-Man Choi smacked a solo homer (from the right side of the plate, amazingly). All told, the piggyback duo of Hatch and Kay was excellent.
All of Toronto’s offence came in the sixth inning when the team exploded for four runs on six consecutive hits. Randal Grichuk singled, Teoscar Hernandez singled, Danny Jansen singled, Brandon Drury singled, Lourdes Gurriel singled, and then Bo Bichette singled. It was an interesting change of scenery for a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Curse of The Top continues as the Blue Jays lose another heartbreaking game

A 4-2 lead with two outs in the ninth inning. Seems easy enough. Not when you’re playing at The House of Horrors. Nothing can ever be easy there.

Things worth mentioning…

There’s a lot to talk about after that game. Where to begin?!
I’ll start off with the good stuff, like how we ended up in the ninth inning with a lead. Thomas Hatch made his first-career start and looked much better than a guy who was traded for a few innings of David Phelps. Hatch went two-and-a-third, allowing just two walks while picking up three strikeouts. After that, Anthony Kay came into the game and went two-and-a-third, allowing just one run, which came when Ji-Man Choi smacked a solo homer (from the right side of the plate, amazingly). All told, the piggyback duo of Hatch and Kay was excellent.
All of Toronto’s offence came in the sixth inning when the team exploded for four runs on six consecutive hits. Randal Grichuk singled, Teoscar Hernandez singled, Danny Jansen singled, Brandon Drury singled, Lourdes Gurriel singled, and then Bo Bichette singled. It was an interesting change of scenery for a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Grades from Toronto Raptors’ Close Win Over 15th Seed Hawks

      The Toronto Raptors nearly blew a 21-point lead, but Norman Powell’s big fourth quarter helped lift the visitors to a 122-117 win over the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Now, the grades following win no. 29: A complete mismatch on paper, Monday’s game was everything but in practice, as the Toronto […]
Grades from Toronto Raptors’ Close Win Over 15th Seed Hawks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jordan Skuse / Raptors HQ

Daily Duce: Shapiro talks pitching market, Anthopolous gets himself in trouble, and more!

Daily???!!!

Mark Shapiro appeared on Sportsnet 590’s Lead Off with Ashley, Ziggy and Scotty Mac on Thursday morning to talk about a handful of off-season related topics. I’m going to focus on a couple of things that are interesting in regards to getting an idea of how the front office plans to tackle free agency this winter.
SN: Looking at the 2020 iterations of our Toronto Blue Jays, there’s under $40 million committed to payroll as of now. So I need to know… What’s your best offer for Gerrit Cole going to be?
Shapiro: He’s certainly a very rare talent to be available in free agency. Almost every team out there is looking for starting pitching, which is not surprising, and certainly, every team could use a No. 1 starter. We’re going to have to be aggressive on every level of the free-agent starting pitcher landscape. We recognize that as players go into the situation, they have all the things that are important to them, they look at geography, how that aligns with their personal situation, their family, they look at spring training, and where that location is, they look at the competitiveness of team, they look at …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Game 1 Turning Point: Kawhi and Pascal stop the Warriors’ run before it even happens

No lead ever feels safe against the Golden State Warriors, but the Raptors held onto theirs last night, as Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam combined to quell a late Warriors run. It gets said over and over again, yet can’t be stressed enough: when you play against the Golden State Warriors no lead feels safe. It feels like sitting in a room with a time bomb, like sprinting along the edge of a precipice, a constant sense of dread hangs over any game in which the Warriors trail.
We’ve seen it too many times, if your offense goes cold the Warriors will get out and run, piling on points in increments of three. Suddenly your lead has gone from 11 to two in less than two minutes, and then the best shooter in NBA history, now feeling himself, stops just past the logo in semi-transition. We’ve seen it so many times that it feels inevitable. A team builds a lead by making enough shots to keep the Warriors out of transition, then they blink once, go cold only briefly, and they’re dead.
Everyone was waiting for it to happen last night:

what we know is the warriors …

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Author: Jacob M. Mack / Raptors HQ