The Leafs have their team, now they have to play

It was no hidden secret that massive changes were coming. Every insider was saying that GM Kyle Dubas would be moving players around and trying to change what the Maple Leafs look like heading into the 2019-20 season.
Compared to how they finished last season, there was really only one option and expectation for the following year. Suffering yet another first-round loss and the second in a row to the rival Boston Bruins isn’t the best feeling for fandom or for the young franchise full of promise.
The outlook of this team felt inevitable at that moment — a great team that will always be in the top-10 during the regular season, maybe sprinkle a couple Presidents’ Trophies in there, but they would never fully take advantage of the talent on the roster. Each year would have its own excuse. A key injury to a star player or just a rough week for the goaltender.
It would certainly be overreaction to what was laying out there, sprawled out on the ice as they have yet to win their first true modern era playoff series, but it would have a sliver of truth lodged in there. That little voice in the …

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Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation

Raptors fend off Warriors in Game 1 of the Finals, win 118-109

Behind a massive game from Pascal Siakam and sustained defensive pressure across the board, the Raptors take a 1-0 series lead against the Warriors in the NBA Finals. It suddenly made sense to start it at nine o’clock.
After waiting most of Thursday for the start of Game 1 of Raptors-Warriors in the NBA Finals, the Scotiabank Arena was filled in a way it has never quite been before. Prior to tip-off — well prior — a rollicking crowd was ready to go for warmups, the anthems, the starting lineups, the entire pre-game ritual. And why not? Toronto hadn’t just waited all day for this moment, they’d waited 24 years.
But the question to the crowd was the same posed to the Raptors: could they keep up this level of energy and focus against an all-out assault from the two-time defending champion Warriors? Could anybody?
With the result of Game 1, we no longer have to ask: yes, the Raptors can. They did their thing over the full 48 minutes and won 118-109 to take a 1-0 lead in the NBA Finals. Wild times.
From the jump, the game was as raucous as expected, with the Raptors and Warriors both getting up the …

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ

Everything goes well, Leafs win 3-2 at home to takes series lead

Thanks to massive goals from Andreas Johnsson, Auston Matthews and Trevor Moore, the Leafs take Game 3 and the series lead over the Boston Bruins.
Although the Leafs lost the shot battle 36-34, they were able to keep the pressure on the Bruins all-game-long. Scoring two important powerplay goals and actually getting some penalty calls were able to keep the Leafs in the game.
To set up the first goal of the game, the fourth line had a massive play and continued it throughout the game. Gauthier, Ennis, and the goalscorer Trevor Moore had important roles to play and did them well.
Matthews had a goal and an assist as well — hopefully to start his hot streak to pull the series out for the Leafs.
The Leafs win 3-2 and have the chance to take a two-game lead in the series at home on Wednesday.
Recap
The Leafs had a red-hot start to the game, controlling the play right from the beginning. A key shift to set the mood from start came from the fourth line, appearing almost like a powerplay shift and hemming the Bruins into their own zone.
Through the first eight minutes of even-strength hockey, the Leafs were …

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Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation