Toronto Maple Leafs: 3 stars from week one of the season (October 12-16)

Week one is officially in the books for the Toronto Maple Leafs after a long wait for the start of the regular season. Toronto started their first week playing none other than Canadian teams after playing them for the entirety of last year, so I’m just happy they got past this week so they can start playing some American teams for the first time since 2020.
They opened their season on Wednesday when they welcomed the Montreal Canadiens to town and took care of business picking up a close 2-1 win to open the year 1-0-0. We didn’t have to wait long for another Maple Leafs game as they took a plane and flew to Ottawa to play the second half of a back-to-back the next day. We all know what happened in that game, a very slow start and a three-goal period for Ottawa ultimately resulted in a 3-2 win for the Senators as the Maple Leafs pick up their first loss of the season.
Fast forward to Saturday night and they’re playing, you guessed it, the Ottawa Senators, yet again. This time Toronto actually started on time and they pounced early with two goals in …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

News and Notes: The Leafs sign an EBUG, Holl out Liljegren in, Mrazek won’t be out long-term

So the 2021-22 season is not even a week old yet and the Leafs are already in full chaos mode with all of the news circulating this morning in regards to the lineup and the status of some injured players.
We begin with the biggest story of them all, which is the Leafs being short on cash and resorting to unique methods to get around that problem.

The #leafs don’t have the cap space to call up a goaltender to take Petr Mrazek’s spot behind Jack Campbell tonight. They will likely sign U of T goalie Alex Bishop to an amateur tryout to back up Campbell.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 16, 2021

What, David Ayres was not available?
Jokes aside, this must be huge for Alex Bishop who has posted decent numbers during his time in the QMJHL and USports. He is in his senior year at the University of Toronto so this will surely be a moment he will never forget. He will most likely sit on the bench for the entire game, but it wouldn’t shock me if Sheldon Keefe were to do him a solid and let him play the final few minutes depending on how things go …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Keefe’s Leafs: what is this team doing differently?

After two incomplete seasons as the Leafs’ head coach, it feels like Sheldon Keefe has been around here a long time. But at the head coaching position in the NHL, he came into this season with just over 100 games under his belt, a little more than 1 full season.
Now, 2 games into the year, we’re already hearing rumblings of whether he’s the right fit for this team. In those partial seasons, Keefe’s Leafs had a better in-season record than any of Mike Babcock’s Leafs. Of course, there’s an asterisk on the 2020-21 season because they got to beat up on the Ottawa Senators for a higher percentage of their games than normal (notwithstanding Thursday night’s disappointment). Still, his overall points percentage with Toronto is 65.7%, a fair notch higher than Babcock’s tenure here with 55.7%.
What I’m curious about, which perhaps you’re curious about it too which and that’s why you’re here, is: what is Keefe having this team do differently at 5v5, and how does that bear itself out in the numbers?
The head coach is the primary influence at 5v5, while assistant coaches generally run the special teams on the …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

A Look at a Leaf: William Nylander vs. the Canadiens (October 13)

Well, here’s to a new Toronto Maple Leafs season and a new series I had formulated in my head, in which I will focus on and breakdown one player’s performance for (hopefully) a majority of Leafs games.
Some of these will be longer than others, some might not even be about a good performance, but I’m looking forward to it and to this upcoming season. Fans are back, we’re getting an 82-game schedule as long as everything goes smoothly, so things are looking up this. The Leafs opened their season against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday with a 2-1 win and there was a good amount to breakdown. Specifically, who better to start this season with than William Nylander, who I think is poised to have yet another breakout season this year.
Nylander is always one of the most-talked Leafs and for good reason. He is coming into this season looking to build on a successful campaign last year that saw him net 42 points in 51 games. To be fair, the Leafs all faced a terrible, terrible fate in the playoffs at the hands of the Canadiens, but out of all the Maple Leafs in that series, …

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Author: Matthew Rodrigopulle / The Leafs Nation

Leafs day after thoughts: Is Pierre Engvall for real?

The Toronto Maple Leafs returned to a sold-out Scotiabank Arena with a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
And it featured a lot.
To start the game, you had the Leafs come out with new white chinstraps on their helmets. I like. Toronto also had a new helmet sponsor in TikTok. I like this too.
With a packed arena of fans, one of the things expected for the Leafs was to start on time. They didn’t, but that’s not a bad thing. They still got the win, and that’s all that matters. Maybe not to Sheldon Keefe, though.
It was still a great night with goals from both William Nylander and Pierre Engvall. And we can’t forget about Jack Campbell, who made almost every stop in Wednesday night’s game.
But I’m most interested in Engvall because he had three goals in two preseason games and now is on pace for 82 this year. It’s not going to happen, but, interestingly, Engvall is scoring at this rate. With his lineup spot in jeopardy once Auston Matthews returns, he’s likely playing with his back against the wall.
And that’s a good thing.


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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Matthews invisible against Montreal once again as Leafs win season opener

On May 31st, the Leafs showed up to the Scotiabank Arena to play an all-important Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens, only to not show up at all, and lose the game.
Four and a half months later, they started off tonight’s game with the exact same effort, but at least learned from their mistakes and managed to win their first game of the season for the fifth season in a row.
Like I said, the Leafs came out flat, but that seems to be a common recurrence in this current era of the Leafs, so I don’t think too many people were concerned just yet. And of course, the Montreal Canadiens opened the scoring as well, as Jonathan Drouin scored a feel-good goal that I don’t think any fan was too mad at after returning from his leave of absence to improve his mental health. But, that’s also pretty common for the Leafs, so once again, fans weren’t too concerned.
Once the halfway point of the first period was reached, the Leafs seemed to find their feet and put in a much stronger effort for the remainder of the period, even getting a couple opportunities …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs seek redemption as a new season opens with a playoff rematch

Preseason is finally over and the dawn of a new Leafs season is upon us. Now freed from the constraints of the all-Canadian North Division, the Leafs will take on all 31 other NHL teams this season, but the theme of this season is redemption. It is about finally rising above the middling results of seasons past and truly achieving something, so it’s only fitting that the Leafs open the season against the bitter rivals who eliminated them back in May, and in the process, handed them their most embarrassing set of losses in franchise history. I am of couse talking about the Montreal Canadiens.
And much like their last meeting with the Habs, the Leafs will be missing one of their top-two centers as Auston Matthews continues to work his way back after wrist surgery. And they may have to play without a top-3 scorer in the league as Mitch Marner is a game-time decision after an incident at practice yesterday.

Sheldon Keefe said Mitch Marner will be game-time decision, but had a positive morning with optional skate
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) October 13, 2021

Despite playing without the reigning Rocket Richard Trophy winner, the Leafs are icing a deeper, more …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Ilya Mikheyev will be out at least eight weeks with a broken hand

While the Leafs were able to end their preseason on a win, they also saw one of their key forwards go down with a hand injury. It looked bad at first glance and now we know how long the Leafs will be without Ilya Mikheyev.

Sheldon Keefe said Ilya Mikheyev will have surgery on a broken thumb and will miss a minimum of eight weeks
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) October 11, 2021

Late in the first period of Saturday night’s game, Mikheyev was knocked to the ice by Senators defenceman Dillon Heatherington and appeared to have landed hard on his hand. He went to the bench in serious discomfort and was ruled out for the rest of the game at the beginning of the second period. As you can see from the clip below, he landed awkwardly on the ice and his hand hit the surface in an uncomfortable manner.
It’s a tough break for Mikheyev who has previously had injury problems with his hands in the past, with the most notable being a gruesome injury back in December 2019. He is coming off his sophomore campaign where he produced seven goals, 10 assists, and 17 points in 54 games while going scoreless in …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Music Mondays: Toronto Maple Leafs preseason hype

Music Mondays: Toronto Maple Leafs preseason hype

T MINUS TWO DAYS UNTIL LEAFS REGULAR SEASON HOCKEY!
If you didn’t let out the obligatory scream that I thought you would, please do so now. I’ll give you a couple seconds.
Okay! With that out of the way we are going to get into the good stuff.
Introducing Music Mondays here at TLN, where every Monday we’ll be dropping a playlist that is completely based upon the Toronto Maple Leafs’ performance the week prior. The playlist is called Not Enough Blue! It will usually consist of 5-7 songs of varying genres. Hopefully this could also be an opportunity for some Leafs fans to find a new favourite artist. Playlists will be available both on Spotify and Apple Music. (I have both and I want to make sure everyone can enjoy this music however they choose.) PLEASE NOTE: The Spotify version will be completely clean, the Apple Music version may have explicit versions of songs. When listed in the article if a song DOES NOT have a clean version or a radio edit available on Apple Music I will put an asterisk (*) around the song title. Just in case you’re listening with family or young ones. …

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Author: Marsha Joseph / The Leafs Nation

The Maple Leafs grab a win in their preseason finale against the Senators

Tonight was the Toronto Maple Leafs’ sixth and final preseason game before the 2021-22 season kicks off next Tuesday. I’ve never been happier to say those words in my life. After what felt like a preseason that would never end, the Maple Leafs hosted the Ottawa Senators which saw the Maple Leafs play almost everybody that we will see come opening night next week against an Ottawa team who dressed a handful of AHL players.
The first period of the game was kind of a toss-up given that both teams had their flashes of scoring chances at times. However, after the first period, the Maple Leafs took over the game and applied lots of pressure on the Senators which led to them scoring a small handful of goals in the second period. Special teams looked pretty good tonight for Toronto as they went 1/4 on the power-play (Morgan Rielly goal) and went 4/4 on the penalty kill which saw the penalty killers acting aggressively yet again, something Dean Chynoweth, the new assistant coach praises while being a man down. They ended up picking up a 4-1 win over Ottawa which concluded their preseason for this year.
 
Before we get into tonight’ …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation