Bluelines: Getting back in the win column

Tuesday night was the right night to bet against the Leafs, but with an actual playoff calibre opponent, and two of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history going up against each other, it’s time to expect more from the Leafs again.
The Leafs are -165 to win
With Orlov and Kuznetsov out tonight for the Capitals, the Leafs as favourites isn’t a tough decision. With Campbell back in net, the Leafs are definitely upgrading from Kallgren, which helps as well.
Let’s see the goalscoring race in action
Matthews is usually a lock to score, especially if he didn’t have one in the last game. And that Alex Ovechkin guy isn’t a bad goal scorer either. If you want to count on both of them scoring it pays at +250, if you want to go big with it, Matthews and Ovechkin both scoring first for their teams pays at +2000.
Take the over
Neither team has had great goaltending this season and both teams love to score. If you want to take the over on 7.5 goals and the Leafs to win, it pays at +250, a nice step up from the -165 on the Leafs winning or the over on 6.5 which pays at -131.
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Comparing the Leafs special teams to see if it can be the key to playoff success

After getting absolutely destroyed by Buffalo on Tuesday night, it wouldn’t hurt to feel a little good about something, so it’s time to talk about special teams. Or at least comparing them to the rest of the league to feel better about the Leafs.
Heading into Tuesday night the Leafs were pretty close to 30%, at 29.4% success rate on the powerplay. This is 3% higher than the next closest team. For all our complaints about the powerplay, it’s absolutely been a bright spot for the Leafs, and if there isn’t an erosion of penalties come playoff time (gulp) it’s a great advantage for Toronto to have in the postseason.
As for the penalty kill, it’s a little worse, and comes in at 6th in the league, but you’ll see, it’s actually better than when you factor in a few extra details in a little bit. The Leafs are the best of the Atlantic teams when it comes to the penalty kill, and perhaps this is an argument for Toronto to want a penalty laden first round.
One of the measures for success used around the NHL as a predictor of how good a team really is in the combination of PP+PK to give an overall score, so I t …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

1 stud and 1 dud as Pascal Siakam, Raptors clinch vs. Hawks

1 stud and 1 dud as Pascal Siakam, Raptors clinch vs. Hawks

Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors entered Tuesday night with the opportunity to clinch a top-six seed in the Eastern Conference. If Fred VanVleet helped take care of business against Trae Young’s Atlanta Hawks and the Magic came out on top against the Cavaliers, Toronto would secure at least the No. 6 spot. The Raptors […]
1 stud and 1 dud as Pascal Siakam, Raptors clinch vs. Hawks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Bulls Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 26

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Bulls Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 26

While the Toronto Raptors went into a Tuesday showcase against the Hornets without the services of Scottie Barnes or Fred VanVleet, they were able to get back over .500 with an impressive win that featured a 76-point first half. The latest Raptors odds don’t think they’ll recapture that magic on the second half of a […]
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The Leafs will have to sort out the salary cap as players return from their injuries

I spent Tuesday afternoon trying to crunch the numbers on the Leafs. They didn’t really seem to add up, so I tried to crunch them again. Every time I looked at the Leafs cap situation I could feel my head start throbbing more and more, thinking it didn’t make a lick of sense, but I was determined to figure out how Mrazek and Mikheyev return, while the Leafs cut back their lineup, but also have to deal with injuries to Sandin, Marner, Dermott, and the suspension to Spezza. I gave up anyway.
Luckily, our favourite TLN capologist, Earl Schwartz sent out some tweets later this evening that made me feel less stupid, because I was write that the numbers didn’t work, but he also made provides a timeline and outline for how to make things work for the Leafs…

Here’s the timeline for the Leafs:
Dec 11, last day for Mrazek to return from LTIR conditioning loan.
Dec 19, Spezza returns from suspension and roster freeze starts.
Dermott/Sandin back around Dec 23, earliest Marner can return if placed on LTIR retroactively is Dec 29. https://t.co/SorA0IuAj6
— Earl Schwartz (@EarlSchwartz27) December 8, 2021

Qualifiers: technically Mrazek could remain on LTIR …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Trivia: Can you name the first Leafs player from these countries?

The Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 victory on Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets may seem like a random middle of the year regular-season game (which it is), but there was actually some history made during the game.
In making his NHL debut, Kristians Rubins became the first Latvian player to ever appear in a game with the Maple Leafs. Anytime a player plays in their first NHL game it is a big occasion for them, but I’m sure there were plenty of Latvian hockey fans that made sure to tune in to this one to support one of their promising up and coming defencemen.

Rubins says there was a big watch party in Latvia at 2 a.m. tonight for his NHL debut.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) December 8, 2021

With Rubins making Latvia the newest country to debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs, there’s no better time to take a look back at the others who became the first to represent their nation over the history of the franchise. Ranging from 1973 until the most recent debut prior to Rubins in 2015, today’s TLN Trivia is both a test of your Leafs history knowledge and a little geography.
As always, be sure …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Rielly, Campbell help lead Maple Leafs to a nail-biter win over Rangers

After coming off a shutout win on home ice Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators, the Toronto Maple Leafs welcomed the New York Rangers into town for their second meeting of the season within the past month. No lineup changes for the Maple Leafs tonight as Timothy Liljegren sat out for the second straight game and Wayne Simmonds remained in the lineup again after being a healthy scratch Saturday night in Buffalo. Ondrej Kase was also a game-time decision tonight due to him blocking a shot late in the third period on Tuesday night, but he was deemed good enough to play.
The first period was a pretty slow pace for both teams as there were only about four shots combined – three for Toronto and one for new York – almost within the first 10 minutes of the period. However, the Maple Leafs didn’t need to throw a ton of pucks on net early to score their first of the night as Morgan Rielly threw one on the net after a tremendous shift by Simmonds that eventually led to him feeding Rielly for the goal and the Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead.
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Leafs look to prey on Predators

The Leafs enter Tuesday night’s matchup against the Nashville Predators as one of the NHL’s hottest teams, having collected 16 of a possible 20 points over their last ten games. Their 8-2-0 record over those ten games matches the Carolina Hurricanes and Vegas Golden Knights for second-best in the league, behind the *checks notes* 8-1-1 Nashville Predators?!
Yes, Nashville is on a tear but then again so are the Leafs, which should make tonight’s matchup an intense one. In each of their last ten games, here are how the stats for these two teams match up:
Metric
Toronto
Nashville
Goals For
31
31
Goals Against
23
22
Powerplay %
32.0%
26.9%
Penalty Kill %
88.5%
81.6%
Shooting %
9.2%
12.2%
Save %
92.7%
93.0%
PDO
101.9%
105.2%
Nashville is definitely riding a bit of luck right now based on a very high shooting percentage. These sorts of things happen throughout a season and the Leafs just need to hope the Predators come down to Earth just in time for their matchup. Jack Campbell may be exactly what’s required to put a stop to that.
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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Josh Ho-Sang excited to make the most of his opportunity with the Marlies

Tuesday night was the first day of cuts for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But it was also a moment Josh Ho-Sang could hold onto for a long time. After spending most of the training camp with Toronto on a PTO, the 25-year-old finally signed a contract within the Leafs organization.
Ho-Sang signed an AHL contract with the Toronto Marlies on Tuesday night.
“For me, I really wanted to be here.” Ho-Sang said after his first practice with the Marlies. “I have a lot of faith in Kyle Dubas and I have a lot of faith in this organization. To me, obviously playing for the Leafs is extrordinary, but what actually sold me on everything was the people here.“
The 25-year-old has been through a lot. Bouncing around between the AHL and NHL was tough, but then he was sent to Europe. And moving across the world may not have been the easiest either.
Earlier in Leafs camp, he spoke about the coach and GM on Linkopings HC in Sweden and what they did for his career. And now, he’s on a new path, and that’s to get back to the NHL.
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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs place Michael Hutchinson on waivers

It was announced on Tuesday that the Leafs have placed goaltender Michael Hutchinson on waivers. He is expected to be assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL if he goes unclaimed by another NHL team. The decision to waive Hutchinson sooner rather than later should provide the Leafs with time to explore other options ahead of the regular season if he does indeed get snatched up by another team.

Hutchinson (TOR) on waivers today
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 5, 2021

Hutchinson returned to the Leafs on a two-year deal last offseason after his first stint with the Leafs ended unceremoniously with a trade to Colorado. He enjoyed a bounceback season in 2020-21 while filling in for the injured Frederik Andersen and Jack Campell, recording a 2.42 GAA and a .919 SV% across eight games for the Leafs.
Given the injury histories of Campbell and offseason acquisition Petr Mrazek, as well as the lack of goaltenders with NHL experience below him on the depth chart, the Leafs are surely hoping to retain Hutchinson’s services as their third goaltender. If he clears, he is expected to share the Marlies’ crease with Erik Kallgren and Joseph Woll as he remains on standby for the big …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation