TLN Three Stars: Leafs clinch division title in comeback win over Habs

Early on, it seemed like a game that the Leafs would sleep through with pretty much everything locked up, even though they hadn’t clinched the division. The Habs were dominating play, got a goal in the first and an early goal in the second, and the Leafs found themselves down 2-0.
That all changed with a Pierre Engvall wrist shot from beyond the faceoff circles that found it’s way past Jake Allen. The Leafs were back within the game, and from that point on, it was theirs. They were playing better, and a game tying goal from William Nylander, and the game winner from Mitch Marner later in the second secured that victory. Against a team that they’re likely going to face in the playoffs, it’s a big win, and an important one for a team that wants to show some perseverance in the playoffs and win their first playoff series in 17 years.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Mitch Marner
Mitch gets the third star for that shot to score the go-ahead goal alone (seriously, where has that been his whole career), but he did much more than that in this game. Him and Matthews were dominant …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

What we know about the Leafs latest KHL signing, Kirill Semyonov

Nothing like dropping the kids off at school and getting a LeafsPR alert on the way home. Is Andersen activated from the LTIR? Did the Leafs hire Bruce Boudreau as a special teams consultant? Nope it’s European Free Agent, and the Leafs did as they always do, they partook in a signing…

We’ve signed forward Kirill Semyonov to a one year entry-level contract for the 2021-22 season. #LeafsForever
Details » https://t.co/24an8aBcig pic.twitter.com/oEe1jHphw4
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 5, 2021

Here is what the Leafs press release has to say on him:
Semyonov, 26, skated in 60 games for Avangard Omsk (KHL) in 2020-21, registering 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) while adding nine points (four goals, five assists) in 23 playoff games, capturing the Gagarin Cup. In 377 regular season KHL games, the Omsk, Russia native has recorded 169 points (70 goals, 99 assists) and 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in 65 playoff games. Semyonov was selected to represent Omsk in the 2019 All-Star Game
Well he’s been an All-Star and won a championship. Those things sound good. The 26 points in 60 games doesn’t sound like he’s setting the world on fire, but that probably gives some sense that he’s a middle six player …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Nate Pearson has been activated from the Injured List and will join the Buffalo Bisons

It looks like Nate Pearson’s next step to returning to the Blue Jays will be with the Bisons.

According to the team, Pearson has been activated from the 10-day Injured List and has been re-assigned to the Alternate Training Site. Pearson will be joining the Triple-A Bisons as they head north to Trenton, where they’ll be playing their home games this season.
Pearson has been throwing simulated games at the Alt Site over the past week and a bit as he builds himself back up after missing virtually all of spring training due to a groin injury. He’ll likely make a couple of starts at Triple-A, and, if all goes well, he’ll be back with the Blue Jays in a couple of weeks.
The most optimistic timeline that I’ve seen for Pearson is that he could be back when the Blue Jays face the Oakland A’s in Dunedin this week, though that seems fairly unlikely. I would imagine the team wants him to make at least a couple of starts for the Bisons given the fact his most recent sim game at the Alt Site was only “3-4 innings.” As with George Springer, it’ …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Thoughts on the Leafs forwards heading into the playoffs

It seems like stretches without hockey are a rarity. In a lot of ways, with the weather improving, it’s quite welcome. In other ways I just want the season to hurry up and end so we can get on with the playoffs already. This seems to be heightened by the fact that the Leafs can clinch their playoff spot as soon as tomorrow night, as Toronto requires just one more win and one more Vancouver loss to make it happen. If the Leafs top Montreal and Ottawa does a favour for Toronto, we get the “x” next to the Leafs name. If not, Thursday night offers a pretty good opportunity given that the Leafs play against the Canucks. You’d also hope that Leafs come out playing like they have something to prove against Vancouver after their unfortunate showing against the Canucks as they returned from their COVID outbreak.
Here are a few other thoughts that are still rattling around in my head.
Simmonds and Thornton are showing their value
Much has been made of the tougher Leafs over the past two games. Maybe they just really like beating up on the Jets or maybe they are preparing themselves …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: The “Dirty” Leafs demolish the “Clean” Jets

So this is what it feels like to be the team that gets under the skin of the opponent.
The Leafs were getting at the ire of the Jets during a scrappy win on Thursday night that snapped Toronto’s five-game losing streak. Forty-eight hours later, the same scenario occurred and the Leafs got the same result.
Jack Campbell allowed the first shot to get past him in the opening minute but remained solid the rest of the way. Joe Thornton then used his long reach to tuck in the tying marker that rewrote the Leafs’ record book before Mitch Marner got a lucky bounce that went his way.

MITCH MARNER
FORECHECK! pic.twitter.com/9WseBFmbyl
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 24, 2021

John Tavares scored to increase the lead to two and that’s when the real fun began. Things started to get chippy as the game progressed with both teams taking runs at each other. Some of the plays were called while others were not, but the two have bad blood boiling right before our eyes.
A slow third period saw some life when Thornton and Nikolaj Ehlers took runs at each other numerous times, capped off with a devastating slash from …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Thornton fined for his interference hit on Perreault

Lately it seems like Joe Thornton has been adjusting his style of play to fit with his likely bottom six deployment for the reminder of the season and into the playoffs. With that he’s add a bit of chippiness to his game, that is generally welcome, but crossed a line Thursday night in Winnipeg and received a fine of $3,017.24 for it.

Toronto’s Joe Thornton has been fined $3,017.24, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for Interference on Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 23, 2021

Thornton likely to be hearing from @NHLPlayerSafety for this late, high hit on Perreault which sends him to the locker room. Given two minutes for interference. pic.twitter.com/TkQz5Kl4Cd
— NHL Safety Watch (@NHLSafetyWatch) April 23, 2021

The fact that Perreault had no reason to expect a hit coming and of course Perreault’s history of head injuries make the hit concerning, but the good news was that Perreault was able to return to game.
Both teams played hard, physical games and it should make for an interesting Saturday night matchup tomorrow. And while our official statement is we don’t condone reckless hits, the fact that Galchenyuk, Foligno, Thornton, and Simmonds were …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs look to snap their losing streak with another game against the Canucks

It seems like every time I tell someone (or write in a pre-game) that I’m not too bothered by a couple Leafs losses, the team decides to pull a “hold my beer” and double down. So yeah, the Leafs are in a bit of a slump – to put it mildly. But the bright side, I guess, is that they’ve managed to steal a few points out of these losses.
It was only a matter of time before Jack Campbell regressed a bit. His start this season was ridiculously impressive, and completely unsustainable. He’s also been bearing a heavy burden, suddenly a starter after coming off injury. Now, Sunday’s game was weird. There was that late Leafs goal that was definitely a goal but wasn’t counted as a goal, so the game went to OT where the Leafs lost. While the team could have played better, Campbell included, it wasn’t exactly some blowout loss, either.
Putting that aside, Sunday’s game also saw this hit on Zach Hyman:

Breaking News: #Canucks Alex Edler has been suspended 2 games for kneeing #LeafsForever Zach Hyman. pic.twitter.com/vwvHlI92wh
— Hockey Hound (@HockeyHoundShow) April 19, 2021

Alex Edler was ejected …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Is Khem Birch going to start a movement that gets Canadians to Toronto?

Toronto Raptors: Is Khem Birch going to start a movement that gets Canadians to Toronto?

Despite the fact that basketball is flourishing like never before in Canada, the number of Toronto Raptors Canadians remains comparatively small. While only a handful of Canadians, including Chris Boucher and Cory Joseph, have ever suited up in Raptors red and black, they added another one to the mix with the addition of center Khem […]
Toronto Raptors: Is Khem Birch going to start a movement that gets Canadians to Toronto? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Curious case of Benjamin Hutton and what he brings to the Leafs

It seems like Ben Hutton becoming a Leaf has been a long time in the making. Hutton has always been one of those defensive defensemen that avoids scrutiny from the numbers crunchers by being a solid shot suppressor, and one that actually plays minutes. In fact, over his six year NHL career, Hutton averages just under 20 minutes a night at 19:48, and he’s been playing 18:31 on average this season as well.

Looking at Ben Hutton, in all situations over the past couple of years, he’s excelled. Last season he was in the 55th percentile of all skaters, and this year numbers have slid marginally, but still show him to be a capable third pairing defender. While Hutton isn’t an overly physical player, he’s not lacking in that ability, and given his defensive, and penalty killing usage, he’ll certainly be a shot blocker on the point.
One of the things that certainly stands out from the numbers on Hutton is that he is certainly underpaid in comparison to what he does, and that’s a big reason why he was targeted for the Leafs. Toronto’s blueline has enjoyed an incredible run of health this year (*knocks …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Grading the Leafs trade deadline

Grading the Leafs trade deadline

It’s seems like only yesterday it was the trade deadline. And now that we’ve had a mountain of time to reflect back on it, and consider the performances of the players who have shuffled around the league, it’s time to grade the Leafs on the same scale that restaurants select their meat on. Fun. The question was simple, how would you grade the Leafs trade deadline?
Filipe Dimas:
B+
The team absolutely improved, there’s no question about that. Did they improve enough to vault themselves from contenders to cup favourites? Probably not, but it doesn’t seem like the opportunity to do so was there.
When the most desired trade piece was a controversial player who has scored only two goals this season, you can’t fault Dubas and the management team for not making a true blockbuster trade.
The Leafs are grittier, more experienced, and better at keeping the puck out of the net than they were two days ago, which is as much as anyone could have asked for.
While some people may be disappointed that Dubas didn’t pull a magic trick to add Taylor Hall, Jack Eichel and Mecha-Hasek from the Sabres …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation