Finding some positives in the Leafs brief return to play

What a weird week it was. We got the briefest taste of meaningful hockey. It was playoff shareware. And going beyond the qualifying round would have been nice, but honestly when we look back on a season that included a coaching change, numerous injuries, a loss to their own employee serving as an Emergency Backup Goaltender, it’s not hard to see why this was over before it began, and why moving on from numerous players on this roster now seems like the smart decision for the Leafs.
Anyways, there were a few positive takeaways from that series that we should want to cling to in the coming months. Let’s look at some of them now.
1. This is unquestionably Auston Matthews’ team
Matthews played with the greatest sense of urgency we’ve seen from him at any point in his career. When the Leafs were down, Matthews pushed harder, wanted the puck, and put the team on his back. In many ways this is a continuation of the regular season when Matthews had his career best goal totals, and helped the Leafs fight their way back into the playoffs, but the Columbus series put an …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs Pregame #53: 5 Things to watch for against the Panthers

MEANINGFUL HOCKEY ALERT!!!
Okay, every game matters from here on out, but with the Leafs just passing the Panthers over the weekend to grab the third divisional playoff spot (Panthers with two games at hand) this is a golden opportunity for the Leafs to put a little distance between themselves and Florida.
You probably blocked it from your memory, but the last time these two teams met it didn’t go so well for the Leafs, and losing 8-4 again wouldn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence in the Leafs.
Alas, the Leafs are on a three game winning streak, and hopefully they are looking to ride this hot streak all the way to a clinched playoff spot and the glory beyond.
Lineups

LW
C
RW
Forwards
ZACH HYMAN
Rating: 74.5#37 LW

AUSTON MATTHEWS
Rating: 82.7#4 C

MITCH MARNER
Rating: 78.1#7 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.43#5 FL1

ALEXANDER KERFOOT
Rating: 71.9#85 LW

JOHN TAVARES
Rating: 78.3#13 C

WILLIAM NYLANDER
Rating: 77.0#12 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 75.76#7 FL2

ANDREAS JOHNSSON
Rating: 72.3#74 LW

PIERRE ENGVALL
Rating: 73.0#73 C

JASON SPEZZA
Rating: 70.1#110 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.80#15 FL3

DMYTRO TIMASHOV
Rating: 71.7#89 LW

FREDERIK GAUTHIER
Rating: 69.7#158 C

TREVOR MOORE
Rating:& …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation