Marner beats Vasilevskiy to end 18-game playoff goalless drought

Mitch Marner’s playoff curse has finally been lifted.

The 24-year-old forward scored his first playoff goal since Game 1 against the Boston Bruins in 2019 to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4–0 lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.
Marner received a pass from Morgan Rielly coming through the slot and made a slick move to fool Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy before sliding the puck into the gaping cage.
Rielly and Auston Matthews picked up the helpers on Marner’s first playoff goal in 18 games, which put the Leafs up by four at the 16:39 mark of the second period of Game 1.

Magic Mitchpic.twitter.com/ldHoV32WCQ
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 3, 2022

Jake Muzzin, Matthews, David Kämpf, and Marner have the goals as the Leafs lead the Lightning 4–0 after two periods at Scotiabank Arena.
Game 1 of this Leafs/Lightning series marks the first time ever that Matthews and Marner have scored in the same playoff contest. Matthews and Marner each have two points through the first 40 minutes of play in Toronto.
More from TheLeafsNation.com
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Do we have the passion? Here are The Leafs Nation playoff prognostications by Jon Steitzer
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: Who has the advantage on special teams? by Mark Norman
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Author: Mike Gould / The Leafs Nation

Bluelines: Once more unto the breach

It’s playoff time. WOOOOOOOOOOO!!! We finally made it. I feel like I’m going to spend the next few hours running through walls in anticipation.
Leafs are the game one favourites at -125
Here we are living in a world where the Leafs are the favourites against the current two time defending Stanley Cup Champions. Something had to go right to get here, but it’s a close one with Tampa paying +105 if they win.
A look at the Leafs playoff futures:

Maple Leafs Playoff Futurespic.twitter.com/TrVnS229HO
— PointsBet Canada (@PointsBetCanada) May 2, 2022

These are some real tall orders and definitely getting ahead of ourselves, but personally, I don’t mind dipping my toes in the water on that Tavares bet with a small amount of coin. With the Matthews line drawing a lot of the tough pairings, and Tavares has proven himself to be a clutch performer in the past, I don’t mind trying hoping for the best on this one.
The Leafs and Lightning both at +1000 to win the cup
Where the Leafs show a slight advantage is in the Eastern Conference matchup. The Leafs are a +500 to win it, and the Lightning a +525. The Leafs are second to the Panthers (+200) in that regard, and are tied with the Lightning for 4th best odds to win the cup.
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

76ers series proved OG Anunoby’s long-term value to Raptors

76ers series proved OG Anunoby’s long-term value to Raptors

The Toronto Raptors lost their playoff series to the Philadelphia 76ers in six games. While the need to improve is evident, there are also many things the Raptors can look forward to in the future. The Raptors saw flashes of what they’ll be receiving in their young core of OG Anunoby, Precious Achuiwa, and Rookie […]
76ers series proved OG Anunoby’s long-term value to Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Sai Pirapakaran / Raptors HQ

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Marlies final stretch, OHL and Growlers playoffs

It’s time for a playoff heavy edition of the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect roundup! Just as the Leafs are in their final week of the season, the Marlies enter a huge week with their playoff lives on the line, plus updates from the OHL and ECHL after the first week of their respective postseasons.
Let’s get right into things!
Toronto Marlies
It’s crunch time for the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate.
The Marlies went 1-2-0 last week with two heartbreaking one-goal losses to division rivals in the Belleville Senators. Thanks to Rochester’s own struggles (0-2-2 last week), the Marlies remain fifth in the North Division standings and in a playoff spot for the time being.

“The results are very tough to swallow right now.”
Hear from Joseph Duszak and Greg Moore in Wednesday’s postgame media mash. #MarliesLive pic.twitter.com/okdQWSTEmq
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) April 21, 2022

Rochester has one game remaining in their regular season, a home game against the North Division’s top squad, the Utica Comets. A win would put the Americans ahead of Toronto for the final playoff spot in the North Division, but it isn’t quite that straightforward. As the Marlies and Americans have different lengths of schedule this year, seeding is based on points percentage.
Currently, the Marlies sit at .551, with the Americans behind at .547. The Marlies, though, have three games remaining away at Laval (twice) and finishing the year in Belleville. With this format, Rochester could lose on Friday and still beat the Marlies for the final playoff spot if the Marlies fail to record two points out of the three games.
Here are the remaining scenarios for the Marlies:
6/6 points = Clinch
5/6 points = Clinch
4/6 points = Clinch
3/6 points = Clinch with Rochester loss (any fashion …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors must rediscover defensive identity for Game 2

Toronto Raptors must rediscover defensive identity for Game 2

The Toronto Raptors began their 2022 playoff run with a disappointing 131-111 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday night. It was a strange start to the postseason for the Raptors, as they struggled in several areas where they normally have the advantage. First, the Raptors made a name for themselves on the road, winning 24 […]
Toronto Raptors must rediscover defensive identity for Game 2 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Matisse Thybulle vaccine decision could swing series for Raptors

Matisse Thybulle vaccine decision could swing series for Raptors

The Toronto Raptors officially have their playoff matchup confirmed, as they have a date with Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers up on the schedule. With secondary stars like James Harden providing his usual dose of scoring and Matisse Thybulle showing off his perimeter defense, Philly is going to be a tough out. Nick Nurse […]
Matisse Thybulle vaccine decision could swing series for Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Setting expectations for the remaining 10 Leafs games

The Leafs clinched their playoff spot. That’s pretty rad. They did it pretty early too, that’s a bit of a bonus. With ten games remaining on the Leafs schedule though, the question needs to be asked, why are we tuning in, what do we still need to see from the Leafs? And while the one answer seems pretty obvious, I was hoping to get a variety of responses from the tribunal of learned TLN contributors when I asked: With the Leafs clinching a playoff spot, what else do you want to see from the Leafs in the final regular season games?
Dylan Murphy:
Leaving aside the obvious things that are guaranteed to happen (Matthews getting to 60 goals, continuing to tinker with the defence pairings and the 4th line to find optimal combinations) I want to see the Leafs continue to put forward a strong effort and secure home-ice, if not steal the division from Florida.
Michael Mazzei:
The focus for the rest of the regular season, aside from securing home-ice advantage, is to try and experiment with the line combinations a bit to see if there is some that could work in case Sheldon Keefe needs to turn to them. The Leafs learned the hard way last year what happens if they aren’t prepared to handle the loss of a big piece for an extended period of time, so getting a head start on finding some other lines that could work will be a focus the rest of the way.
Towards the end of the regular season, the focus should then switch to making sure the team …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews’ goal scoring history has made watching the Maple Leafs a must-watch before the playoffs begin

The Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a playoff berth for the sixth consecutive season when they defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday, but their postseason destiny was a virtual certainty for over a month when the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference fully separated themselves from the pack.
It could have been a really boring April for the Maple Leafs as a result, but Auston Matthews has made sure it has been anything but.
On a night where he was honoured for passing Rick Vaive’s franchise record for goals in a season two days prior, Matthews posted two first-period goals just 27 seconds apart for his 57th and 58th goals of the season. The heater he has been on is so strong that even his head coach had to take a step back during the game.
“Especially on that second goal, (Jason) Spezza turned around and gave me the eyes like this is something special,” Sheldon Keefe said. “I was surprised he stopped at two with the way that he was playing it felt like he was going to have a serious night.”
The first goal have Matthews his 50th goal in his last 50 games. While that doesn’t count for NHL’s official 50-in-50 stat, he did become the fir …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Rockets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Apr. 8

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Rockets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Apr. 8

The Toronto Raptors have not only clinched a playoff spot, but they’ve put themselves in a position to potentially earn the No. 4 seed thanks to a win against the 76ers. The latest Raptors odds have them positioned to blow out one of the league’s worst teams in their home finale. Jalen Green’s Houston Rockets […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Rockets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Apr. 8 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Bluelines: Betting on history being made in Dallas

Tonight has a lot of promise. A backup goaltender on a bubble playoff team is what Auston Matthews will be facing as he attempts to write his name in the Leafs history books. Of course, if you look at the Leafs recent history of facing backup goaltenders you might be inclined to bet against the Leafs tonight.
Maple Leafs are the favourites at -160
If Leafs fans need further proof that this is a good team and that we might be a little too hard on them, that line is a good example of where the Leafs are at. It’s because of that I’d say that if you are betting on the Leafs you are better off betting on the Leafs betting the spread of 1.5 (+160).
Making history is -135
With Matthews not scoring last game, it seems like it’s truly easy money to bet on him to score tonight. If you want to be adventurous Matthews scoring first pays +750, or if you want to play it a bit safer Matthews scoring first for the Leafs pays +360.
Bet against my takes +360
I just wrote about taking Wayne Simmonds out of the Leafs lineup, and normally anytime I say something remotely critical about a Leafs player it comes back to bite m …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation