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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs Islanders - 02/22/18

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders Wednesday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau Proteautype /

1. Looking to avenge previous shellacking at Leafs' hands, Isles strike first. The previous time the Islanders took on the Leafs - a Jan. 31 game at Air Canada Centre - Toronto dominated the visitors from the first puck-drop through the final buzzer, outshooting the Isles 50-28 and winning 5-0. Games like that tend to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the defeated squad, and the Isles came out Thursday looking like a team intent on revenge: they outshot Toronto 13-7 in the first period, and took a 1-0 lead at 8:39 of the opening frame when a slapshot from defenceman Ryan Pulock beat Buds goaltender Frederik Andersen for Pulock's sixth goal of the season.

Islanders rookie centre Matthew Barzal recorded the secondary assist on Pulock's goal, but the dynamic young pivot would later show he was not done impacting the score. In fact, he wasn't done getting on the scoresheet in the period. 

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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Panthers - 02/20/18

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 1-0 win over the Florida Panthers Tuesday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau /

Van Riemsdyk pots quick goal

FLA@TOR: van Riemsdyk rips five-hole goal past Luongo

James van Riemsdyk gets the puck in the slot and wires a wrister through Roberto Luongo's five-hole, as Jake Gardiner earns his 200th point

  • 01:07 •

1. Goal puts Leafs up early on Panthers, as van Riemsdyk's scoring streak shows no signs of slowing. After splitting the weekend with a road loss to the Penguins Saturday and a win over the Red Wings in Detroit Sunday, the Leafs returned home for the first game of a three-game run at Air Canada Centre. Their opponent was a Panthers team that's won seven of its past 10 games, but it was the Leafs who struck first, getting a goal from winger James van Riemsdyk with only 29 seconds remaining in the opening period.

It was the fifth goal in seven games (and the 26th of the season) for van Riemsdyk, and it snapped the Buds' two consecutive games of being scored on first. The first goal isn't a guarantee a team will win, but in the Leafs' case, an early lead infuses goaltender Frederik Anderson with an edge allowing him to be more aggressive, and that's often been a bad infusion for Toronto's opponents. 

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Maple Leafs Trade Eric Fehr to San Jose

by Staff Writer MapleLeafs /

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has traded forward Eric Fehr to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Toronto now holds eight picks in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Fehr, 32, skated in four games with the Maple Leafs in 2017-18. On November 7, Fehr was loaned to the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League by Toronto. The Winkler, Manitoba native registered 28 points (17 goals, 11 assists) and 33 penalty minutes in 34 games with San Diego.

The Maple Leafs return to action tonight when they host the Florida Panthers at 7:00 p.m.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Red Wings - 02/18/18

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings Sunday at Little Caesars Arena:

by Adam Proteau /

1. With both sides playing the night before, scoreless first period was understandable. Both the Leafs and the Red Wings were playing their second game in as many nights, and both were coming into Detroit off the road Sunday, so it was understandable that neither team looked especially energized in the first period. Now, that isn't to say there was no action of note - Toronto outshot the home team 15-12 in the first 20 minutes, and netminders Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney had to work to ensure they didn't surrender the first goal, but there was no particular sense of urgency. Maybe that was because each side was feeling out the other, but maybe it was because their work the previous evening was taking a toll on their bodies and the pace and crispness of play slowed down because of it.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Penguins - 02/17/18

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday at PPG Paints Arena:

by Adam Proteau /

1. In change from recent hot streak, Leafs give up first goal of game, trail early in opening period. No NHL team has more consecutive wins at the moment than the Leafs did prior to Saturday's game against Pittsburgh; Toronto has five straight victories (and had won nine of their past 10 contests) heading into the road game, and in each of those five wins, the Buds had scored the first goal of the matchup. But they were facing a Penguins squad that's won three in a row - and one that has an impressive 22-7-1 record at home - so it wasn't a surprise that the Pens would be a danger to them.

And that's what they were to start the night: after Leafs winger Zach Hyman was robbed by Penguins goaltender Matt Murray with a terrific glove save, Pittsburgh moved down to the other end of the ice on a 3-on-2 rush, and winger Carl Hagelin finished off a slick passing play from winger Bryan Rust to score his seventh goal of the season and give the home side a 1-0 lead at 3:23 of the opening period. Like Toronto, the Pens also have been one of the league's better teams in their past 10 games (posting an 8-1-1 mark in that span), and they got a combination of excellent netminding and pinpoint passing and finishing to carve out the first lead of the game.

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Leafs Head Out for Road Swing Aiming to Build on Home Stand Sweep

by Adam Proteau Proteautype /

Although they were riding a five-game win streak, as the Maple Leafs took off their special uniforms - all-white equipment from head-to-toe, to be worn during Toronto's outdoor game in D.C. against the Washington Capitals March 3 - Friday after practice at their west-end training facility, the players and coaches understood there were aspects of their game that needed work. Of course, it's a good thing for Leafs Nation to see their team win nine of their past 10 games and sweep their five-game home stand at Air Canada Centre with a 6-3 win over Columbus Wednesday, but the Buds' all-around game left veterans with the feeling they could be much improved, particularly in their own end.

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Maple Leafs Trade Nikita Soshnikov to St Louis

by Staff Writer MapleLeafs /

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has traded forward Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

Toronto now holds eight picks in the 2019 NHL Draft. Soshnikov, 24, has skated in three games with the Maple Leafs this season. He was placed on the injured reserve list on December 12 with a lower body injury and has missed 28 games due to injury. The Nizhny Tagil, Russia native has also appeared in 19 games with the Toronto Marlies (AHL), registering 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) and 12 penalty minutes.

The Maple Leafs return to action on February 17 in Pittsburgh when they take on the Penguins at 7:00 p.m.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Blue Jackets - 02/14/18

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau /

Moore's early backhand goal

CBJ@TOR: Moore shovels home backhander for early lead

Dominic Moore collects a loose puck, skates into the circle and floats a backhander through Joonas Korpisalo to take an early 1-0 lead

  • 00:52 •

1. Aiming to complete sweep of home stand, Leafs start night on right foot, take first lead early in opening frame. The Leafs have given their fans much to cheer for in recent weeks, winning eight of their past nine games and four in a row - all of which have come at Air Canada Centre since their home stand began Feb. 5 against Anaheim. And the Blue and White continued to perform well as they began Wednesday's tilt against Columbus, who were riding a two-game win streak heading into the contest: Toronto recorded the first goal of the night at 4:36 of the opening period, when centre Dominic Moore streaked down the wing to the left of Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo and lifted a backhand shot past him for his fifth goal of the season.

It was the fifth time in a row the Buds have opened the scoring, and on all four previous occasions Toronto went on to win the game. Setting the tone early has become a strength of the Leafs, and when they're able to connect with the first goal at home, the ACC crowd provides them with an electricity they've fed off the rest of the night.

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Leafs mark anniversary of final game at Maple Leaf Gardens

The Leafs return to their hockey shrine for open practice

by Adam Proteau Proteautype /

Exactly 19 years after the Maple Leafs played their final game at Maple Leaf Gardens, the team returned to the iconic Toronto hockey arena Tuesday for an open practice in front of their adoring fans. And although the building isn't exactly the same as it was when it hosted NHL hockey for more than 67 years - it's now a multipurpose facility that is grocery store and part athletic centre for Ryerson University - the spirit and history of the Gardens still resonates with today's group of Leafs.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Lightning - 02/12/18

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau /

Nylander's nifty snipe

TBL@TOR: Nylander fires home goal from the circle

Auston Matthews dishes the puck to William Nylander, who lasers a wrist shot into the back of the net from the circle in the 1st period

  • 00:54 •

1. Bolts and Buds feel each other out in playoff-like first period, but Leafs take lead on Nylander one-timer. Riding a three-game win streak, the Leafs welcomed the NHL-leading Lightning to town Monday, and the first period between the two teams had a playoff feel to it: neither side was taking chances as the opponents felt out each other, and each side finished the frame with nine shots on net. But it was Toronto that got on the scoresheet first, as winger William Nylander struck for his 13th goal of the season at the 11:55 mark.

The scoring play began when centre Auston Matthews won a faceoff in Tampa's zone and got the puck back to Jake Gardiner; the blueliner's shot didn't reach goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, going instead to Matthews, who quickly passed it to Nylander for a blistering one-timer Vasilevskiy had no chance on and a 1-0 Leafs lead. Nylander had three goals and 10 points in his previous nine games, and the sophomore NHLer was Toronto's most dangerous offensive threat through the first two periods Monday.

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