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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Flyers - 12/12/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center:

by Adam Proteau /

Marleau scores for 1,100th point

TOR@PHI: Marleau finishes rush for his 1,100th point

Patrick Marleau gets to the loose puck to lead the rush, and he squeezes a shot by Brian Elliott to record his 1,100th career NHL point

  • 00:54 •

1. Flyers open scoring midway through first, but Leafs answer back just 27 seconds later. In Both the Leafs and Flyers were riding three-game win streaks heading into this game, and it was Philadelphia that drew first blood at 9:21 of the first period, when forward Claude Giroux scored on a hard shot off a faceoff in Toronto's zone. But that didn't discourage Toronto, which promptly moved into the offensive zone on the ensuing play, and forward Patrick Marleau squeezed a shot past goalie Brian Elliott 27 seconds after the opening goal for Marleau's 11th of the season and a 1-1 tie.

 The Leafs didn't have the services of centre Auston Matthews for the second game in a row, but they're one of the NHL's better road squads (with a 10-5-1 mark this year), and their early resilience Tuesday did a good job of quietening the always-raucous Philly crowd before they even had a full minute to celebrate a lead.

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Maple Leafs Recall Kasperi Kapanen

In a corresponding move, the Maple Leafs have placed forward Nikita Soshnikov on the injured reserve list.

by Staff Writer MapleLeafs /

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that forward Kasperi Kapanen has been recalled from the Toronto Marlies (AHL). In a corresponding move, the Maple Leafs have placed forward Nikita Soshnikov on the injured reserve list.

Kapanen, 21, was previously recalled this season on October 28 and skated in three games with the Maple Leafs before being returned on loan to the AHL on November 7. He has appeared in 16 games with the Toronto Marlies this season, tallying eight goals and four assists for 12 points. In 2016-17, Kapanen appeared in eight regular season games with the Maple Leafs and scored one goal before adding two goals in six Stanley Cup playoff games with the club. He also recorded 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) in 43 games with the Toronto Marlies last season and had an additional eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) in nine Calder Cup playoff games. Kapanen was acquired by the Maple Leafs in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 1, 2015.

The Maple Leafs return to action when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on December 12 at 7:00 p.m.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Penguins - 12/09/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday at PPG Paints Arenas:

by Adam Proteau /

Rielly sets up Brown

TOR@PIT: Brown wires home Rielly's great pass

Morgan Rielly sends the puck from the circle to Connor Brown, who fires a shot from the slot past Tristan Jarry early in the 1st

  • 00:55 •


1. Leafs begin with bang, build two-goal lead in early moments of first frame. Toronto's tilt with Pittsburgh was the first of back-to-back games on consecutive nights for the Buds - with the second coming back at Air Canada Centre Sunday against Edmonton - and the Leafs were all over the Penguins to begin Saturday's match: blueliner Morgan Rielly made a slick pass to winger Connor Brown in the opening seconds, and Brown beat Pens goalie Tristan Jarry for his ninth goal of the season at 1:23 of the first period.

Nineteen seconds later, the Leafs struck again: winger James van Riemsdyk netted his 14th goal of the year. Winger Mitch Marner started the scoring sequence by moving the puck around behind Pittsburgh's net and passing to linemate Tyler Bozak directly in front of Jarry; Bozak's shot was stopped by the netminder, but the rebound went directly to van Riemsdyk, who quickly fired it in to reclaim the Leafs' lead in goal-scoring.

In less than two minutes, the visitors were up by a pair, and the Penguins had the wind removed from their collective sail rather abruptly.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Flames -12/06/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 2-1 shootout win over the Calgary Flames Wednesday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau /

1. Leafs on their heels early, give up first power play, first goal to Flames. In one of their best all-around performances of the season, Toronto beat the Flames 4-1 Nov. 28, so you knew Calgary's players would be looking to atone for the loss Wednesday at the ACC. And sure enough, the Flames began the first period strongly, getting pucks at Buds goalie Frederik Andersen early and often, and pressuring Toronto in its zone for most of the first half of the frame. As a result, the Leafs were called for the first penalty of the night at the 9:27 mark, and Calgary scored on the ensuing power play when defenceman Mark Giordano's shot from the point went through traffic and into the Buds' net at 10:37.

The Leafs generated more scoring chances in the second half of the period - earning a pair of power plays, including one with 11.8 seconds left before the intermission - but Flames goalie Mike Smith turned aside all 12 Toronto shots and Calgary led 1-0 after 20 minutes. 

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Leafs rely on process, real life, veterans to decompress

by Adam Proteau Proteautype /

The Maple Leafs are entering the middle-third of their season - and staring down a particularly grueling December stretch that will have them playing 12 games in the next 25 days - so decompressing is important. Not easy, mind you, but important. Head coach Mike Babcock has always made it known how important it is to compartmentalize the pressures and rigours of professional hockey by enjoying life away from the rink. But when you're in the middle of the grind, constantly playing a demanding sport and devoting your energies to being at your best on the ice, it's a challenge to not be swept up and away by the job.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Canucks - 12/02/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Saturday at Rogers Arena:

by Adam Proteau /

1. Canucks score game's first two goals as Leafs look flat in opening period. The Leafs were on a two-game win streak as they took on the Canucks in the final game of a Western Canadian road trip, and Toronto fell into some old, unfortunate habits in the first 20 minutes of action in Vancouver. The Buds were outshot 17-11 in the first frame, lost many of the puck battles and surrendered the first and only two goals of the period.

The first goal for the home side came from centre Markus Granlund, whose slap shot beat Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen for his fourth of the season at the 4:52 mark; the second came from blueliner Alex Edler, who netted his first of the year at 11:14. Toronto didn't look especially in sync before the first intermission, and Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom was solid when he had to be. 

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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Oilers - 12/01/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 6-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers Thursday at Rogers Place:

by Adam Proteau Proteautype /

1. Leafs pounce on Oilers early with powerplay and even-strength goals. Toronto was coming off one of its best performances of the season in a 4-1 win over Calgary Tuesday, and the Leafs looked equally strong to begin Thursday's tilt against Edmonton. After pressuring Oilers blueliner Darnell Nurse into a hooking penalty 54 seconds into the first period, Toronto's power play went to work, and centre Auston Matthews struck for his team-leading 13th goal of the year at 2:15 after a terrific primary assist from winger William Nylander.

Three minutes and 40 seconds later, the Buds doubled their lead when centre Dominic Moore beat goalie Laurent Brossoit on the short side for his fourth goal of the season. The Oilers had won two in a row heading into this game, but they're still a team with issues and confidence woes, and getting on top of them early was good news for the Leafs.

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Q&A with Lou Lamoriello

by Adam Proteau Proteautype /

Lou Lamoriello is currently in his third season as Maple Leafs GM, but he has spent the past three decades as one of the NHL's most accomplished managers. As such, the 75-year-old Hockey Hall of Famer has seen it all and carved out a place for himself in the sport's history with his unmistakeably straightforward manner and relentless work ethic. 

Lamoriello spent time earlier this week to speak to on the current state of his team, changes in the organization, the growth of the American League's Toronto Marlies, and much more. Here is an edited version of the conversation:

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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Flames - 11/28/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames Tuesday at Scotiabank Saddledome:

by Adam Proteau /

Polak's fortuitous goal

TOR@CGY: Polak scores off multiple redirects in 1st

Roman Polak fires a slap shot from the point that redirects off two defensemen and past Mike Smith, giving the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead

  • 00:48 •

1. Toronto gets game's first goal from unlikely-but-welcome source late in opening period. The Leafs' slow starts to games has been a contributing factor in recent weeks, so it was heartening for head coach Mike Babcock and his staff to see Toronto begin the night in Calgary by outshooting the Flames and putting intense pressure on goalie Mike Smith. And with 1:24 left in the opening period, Toronto took the game's first lead when veteran blueliner Roman Polak's shot careened off two different Flames players and past Smith into Calgary's net.

Polak has never been a primary generator of goals in 12 NHL seasons - his goal Tuesday was his first in his seventh game of the year, and his 24th in 641 career regular-season games - and this marker wasn't a thing of beauty on an artistic scale. But Babcock and his charges don't much care how they get scored - only that they get scored. And finishing off a period in which the Buds outshot the home team 12-9 with a good-fortune goal like Polak's could only encourage the Leafs to continue pressing Calgary in the remaining two frames.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs Capitals - 11/25/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 4­-2 loss to the Washington Capitals Saturday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau Proteautype /

1. Leafs put up stronger start to game, but Ovechkin strikes twice to give Capitals two-goal lead heading into second. The Leafs recently have been concerned about sub-par starts to games that resulted in them being significantly out-chanced by opponents, but they came out of the dressing room focused and with structure Saturday. Consequently, Toronto outshot the Capitals 8-3 to start the night, but Washington generated the only offence in the first period thanks to star winger Alex Ovechkin and led 2-0 entering the second period.

Both of Ovechkin's goals came on slap shots that beat Buds goalie Curtis McElhinney. The first came at 12:43 of the first, and the second - Ovechkin's 17th of the year - came on the power play with 47 seconds left in the frame. Toronto wound up with 11 shots to Washington's seven and the Buds came close to scoring more than once, but a sniper like Ovechkin always seems to find a way to contribute given enough time and space, and on both goals, he had both of those elements, wound up, and did what he does best.

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