Bluelines: Keep the good times rollin’

Jon Cooper thinks the Lightning didn’t play well on Monday night. He’s right there. He also didn’t think it took much effort from the Leafs to beat Tampa. Let’s hope he’s right there too and that the Leafs have more effort to give in order to face a likely more determined and prepared Tampa team.
The Leafs at -136 on the moneyline
The Leafs continue to be the favourites, between the game one win and the return of Michael Bunting their odds seem to have improved. Tampa is paying at a +115, in contrast.
Alex Kerfoot has been buzzin’
Alex Kerfoot is definitely establishing himself as a player who steps up come playoff time, and if you want to bank on him doing that, a goal from Kerf pays +550 tonight.
Auston and Mitch have the monkeys off their back
Both Auston and Mitch found the scoresheet immediately in Game one, and if you want to see if they can keep the good times rolling, three point nights for Matthews go at +400 and Marner pays at +450. A goal for Matthews is still the safest bet at +165.
More from TheLeafsNation.com
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: Who has the advantage on the blueline? by Kyle Cushman
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: The goaltending factor by Mark Norman
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: The Leafs have the edge over the Lightning with forwards by Jon Steitzer
POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIOPointsBet Canada has officially launched in Ontario! Get a $25 free bet just for signing up right here! …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs’ Latest: Tavares returns to Long Island and Dahlström makes his debut

The Maple Leafs will play the final game of their New York trip tonight against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena.
Speaking of UBS Arena, Toronto was the second team to play the Islanders in their new building. Joseph Woll was in net that night and didn’t allow a single goal for his first-career NHL shutout.
Ever since then, it’s been downhill for the Islanders, who sit second last in the Metropolitan Division. As of late, though, the team has turned it around winning seven of their last nine games.
A big reason for that is the play of their two goaltenders, Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov. The two netminders have put together a combined .925 save percentage this season.
Two players that have been good since the Islanders’ hot streak have been Josh Bailey and Matthew Barzal. Both players are averaging a point-per-game since December 16th.
It’s not known who’ll start tonight for New York, but it’s projected to be Varlamov. The Islanders are entering the second-half of a back-to-back after defeating the Arizona Coyotes 4-0. Sorokin played in that game, which is why Varlamov is the projected starter for Saturday.
Maple Leafs lineup on Saturday night
With only an optional morning skate in New York, we won’t have a full look at lines. However, I don’t believe the lineu …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

A Maple Leafs game worth waiting half a month for

Last time we saw the Leafs play, we had a will they won’t they be able to play situation in Edmonton. Thankfully they played, played well, and shortly there after everything went to shit with players in COVID protocol and games postponed. Here we are 18 nights later and finally we had hockey. And hockey you want to see as a Leafs fan.
When a Jack Campbell shutout is doesn’t standout as significant in a 6-0 win, things are going good. The fact that not all of the 3 point scorers, or multi-goal scorers can make our three stars listing is encourage. The Leafs did pretty darn well. Still, if we’re going to dump some cold water on this, I guess it’s reasonable to point out that they were playing against Matt Murray, a goaltender who’s best days are well behind him, and a depleted Ottawa Senators lineup that probably wouldn’t look much more impressive if fully healthy. Still, it’s fun to get a win in what was a pretty close to flawless outing.
Here are your three stars…
3rd Star- William Nylander
It pains me to make Willie the third star, but in reality …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Some more names added to the Leafs COVID Protocol list

If you were planning on seeing the Leafs play hockey again before Christmas, I think you’re out of luck. If you are hoping to see them again before the New Year, that also looks unlikely as the Leafs just added a number of new names to their COVID Protocol list…

The Maple Leafs have placed defenceman TJ Brodie, goaltender Jack Campbell, defenceman Travis Dermott, head coach Sheldon Keefe and assistant coach Spencer Carbery into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 18, 2021

So with 10 Marlies also tested positive with COVID, and no real relief in sight, I think we chalk this up to a bad situation, but a situation made marginally better by the fact that the Leafs aren’t playing.
Here are a few notes from Dubas’ earlier press availability that hinted at the further testing that was coming:

Dubas said #Leafs did another round of rapid tests today that were all negative; team is waiting in Vancouver until PCR tests come in before all those who are negative will depart for Toronto.
Still coordinating travel for those who are positive.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) December 18, 2021

Dubas said Marlies are up to 10 positives, so that’s an …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Michael Hutchinson is back and that likely means someone is hurt

With the Leafs set to play the Avalanche in about three hours time, their PR team posted a tweet that should strike fear into the hearts of Leafs fans everywhere.

The Maple Leafs have recalled goaltender Michael Hutchinson from the Toronto Marlies (AHL)
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) December 1, 2021

There is so many possibilities of what this could mean, the most likely being that one of Jack Campbell or Joseph Woll is hurt and will need to be put on the sidelines for a bit. The early indications seems to point towards Woll being out of commission since he left yesterday’s practice before the main session began.

Joseph Woll departs before main Leafs practice starts
Petr Mrazek has his own net @TSN_Edge
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) November 30, 2021

Another possibility is that with Petr Mrazek nearing his return, the Leafs want to leave the Marlies crease open so he can get in a conditioning start or two before being brought back to the main roster.
Of course, it could also be that one of the aforementioned goalies has caught COVID-19 and are being put into quarantine with this transaction being a last minute scramble. Over a week ago, the Leafs played an …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

What will the ideal Raptors rotation look like when everyone is healthy?

What will the ideal Raptors rotation look like when everyone is healthy?

The Toronto Raptors have yet to play a game at full strength this year, as the vengeful fingers of the NBA gods appear to have decided to once again saddle this team with a boatload of injuries. While Fred VanVleet has remained healthy, stars like Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, and OG Anunoby have missed time […]
What will the ideal Raptors rotation look like when everyone is healthy? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors SF Yuta Watanabe has awesome response after blocking dunk

Raptors SF Yuta Watanabe has awesome response after blocking dunk

The Toronto Raptors have yet to play a game with all of their key rotation pieces healthy, as Yuta Watanabe missed the first 18 games of the season due to a calf injury. The Japanese forward was finally healthy enough to make his season debut against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies. While Raptors fans […]
Raptors SF Yuta Watanabe has awesome response after blocking dunk – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

It’s Leafs vs Blackhawks and really what else is there to say?

The Leafs play the Blackhawks tonight and frankly, it’s a little bit difficult to decide what the focus is here.
Sure, yes, the Leafs are in a tailspin and things seem pretty dire and if they lose tonight there might be some big changes coming. But on the flip side – the Blackhawks organization as a whole is a tire fire, and not just because of their hockey performance.
It feels somewhat reductive to discuss the hockey of it all at this moment in the NHL, with what is happening in and around the Blackhawks bringing to light, once again, how toxic and dangerous hockey culture is and can be. I can’t in good conscience write a pre-game post about the Blackhawks without acknowledging that the organization actively, intentionally, covered up sexual assault and in doing so allowed a predator to continue to work with young men.
However, this is a pre-game post, and not an article about that (though those will be plentiful, and necessary.) So now that it has been mentioned, we turn to the hockey.
The Blackhawks are 0-5-1. The Leafs are 2-4-1. Both are bad. The Leafs are very marginally less bad, but …

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Author: Mer / 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

Toronto Raptors: 3 things to look for in preseason opener vs. 76ers

Toronto Raptors: 3 things to look for in preseason opener vs. 76ers

The Toronto Raptors are finally ready to play basketball in Canada after over a year away from their home. While the regular season doesn’t get kicked off until October 20, fans will be treated to a very intriguing preseason opener against a Philadelphia 76ers team that is eyeing a spot in the Finals. The Raptors […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 things to look for in preseason opener vs. 76ers – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ