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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Kings -10/23/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings Monday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau / MapleLeafs.com

Martin's nice deflection in front

LAK@TOR: Martin deflects point shot past Quick

Roman Polak launches a rocket from the point that deflects off Matt Martin before squeezing past Jonathan Quick for a 1-0 Maple Leafs lead

  • 00:59 •

1. Martin's first of the season helps Leafs overcome Kings' early push, claim lead after opening period. The Kings traveled to Air Canada Centre riding a four-game win streak and leading the Pacific Division with a 6-0-1 record, and used their size and strength to get 17 shots on Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen in the opening period of Monday's game. But Andersen was sharp and turned aside all of them, and it was the Leafs who found a way to get on the scoreboard first: winger Mitch Marner carried the puck into Los Angeles' zone, around behind the back of the net, and fired it back toward the blueline, where defenceman Roman Polak - playing in his first regular-season game after signing a one-year contract Sunday - blasted it toward the Kings' net.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick looked to have gotten most of the puck, but winger Matt Martin managed to deflect just enough of it to get it dribbling past the veteran goalie and into the net to give Toronto a 1-0 lead at the 5:46 mark. The Leafs generated 10 shots on Quick in the period and came close to extending their advantage a couple times, but Andersen's strong play kept them from dealing with a tie - or worse - heading into the middle frame.

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Maple Leafs Agree to Terms with Defenceman Roman Polak

The club has agreed to a one-year contract worth $1.1M.

by Maple Leafs MapleLeafs / MapleLeafs.com

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has agreed to terms with defenceman Roman Polak to a one-year contract worth $1.1M.

Polak, 31, has registered 23 goals and 92 assists in 634 career NHL games with the Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues. In 2016-17, he collected 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 75 regular season games with Toronto while also skating in two playoff games.

The Ostrava, Czech Republic native was originally selected by St. Louis in the sixth round (180th overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Senators -10/21/17

by Adam Proteau Proteautype / MapleLeafs.com

1. Senators take physical tact in opening period, bring 1-0 lead into middle frame.

The Leafs had a three-game win streak entering this game, but Toronto found itself trailing 1-0 after one period and dealing with a physical Sens team that controlled much of the play while outshooting the Buds 13-8 heading into the first intermission. Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen played well in limiting Ottawa to a single goal in the first, and only a sustained push at the side of the net to Andersen's right resulted in forward Nate Thompson poking the puck in to give the home team the first advantage of the night at the 12:01 mark.

 

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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Red Wings - 10/18/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau / MapleLeafs.com

Kadri's short side snipe

DET@TOR: Kadri opens scoring with slick wrister

Nazem Kadri receives a pass at the blue line and skates to the faceoff dot before burying a wrist shot, opening the scoring in the 1st period

  • 00:51 •

1. Leafs take a while to register first shot on net, but make first two count to take early lead. Although they had a couple of solid scoring chances early, the Leafs didn't get their first shot on Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard until nearly six minutes into the first period. However, centre Nazem Kadri made that first shot meaningful, putting a wrister high over Howard's shoulder on the short side and into the net for his fourth goal of the season and a 1-0 Toronto lead at the 5:56 mark.

Air Canada Centre announcer Mike Ross was in the middle of announcing Kadri's goal when the Buds boosted their lead: this time, blueliner Morgan Rielly's shot went off the skate of winger Zach Hyman and past Howard just 43 seconds after Kadri scored, and the Leafs led by a pair of goals at 6:39. Toronto only had two shots at that point, but both of them went in and the visitors were digging out of a hole before they knew it. 

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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Capitals - 10/17/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 2-0 win over the Washington Capitals Tuesday at Capital One Arena:

by Adam Proteau / MapleLeafs,com

1. Leafs dictate play for majority of first, but neither side scores in first 20 minutes. The Leafs jumped on the puck to begin Tuesday's contest and had a number of golden scoring opportunities in the opening period, but couldn't convert any of them into goals; meanwhile, the Capitals did have a couple of offensive opportunities themselves, but Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen stopped all seven shots he saw prior to the first intermission. Neither side was as good in terms of limiting chances as they'd have liked to be, but both Andersen and counterpart Braden Holtby entered the second frame as they began the first - with a shutout intact - and prevented their opponent from building momentum in the early stages of the game. 
                                                                                               

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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Canadiens - 10/14/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 4-3 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens Saturday at Bell Centre:

by Adam Proteau / MapleLeafs.com

Matthews' wicked wrister

TOR@MTL: Matthews controls the puck, snipes shot home

Auston Matthews regains his own turnover in the neutral zone, then whips a shot that beats Carey Price to put the Maple Leafs in front, 2-1

  • 00:54 •

1. Leafs surrender game's initial goal, but rebound before first intermission with two goals - including dazzler from Matthews. The Leafs and Canadiens began their first meeting of the season in front of a typically loud crowd in Montreal, and it took the Habs 2:19 to score the initial goal of the night when blueliner Jeff Petry beat netminder Frederik Andersen.

However, the visitors battled back toward the middle of the first period and took the lead thanks to a two-goal burst of offence in a 44-second span: first, winger James van Riemsdyk scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season at 7:32 off a quick shot following a faceoff in Montreal's zone; then, centre Auston Matthews pulled even with van Riemsdyk by registering his fourth of the year on a magnificent individual effort. Matthews took the puck in the Leafs' zone, flipped it up the ice, took it back just inside the Habs' blueline, and ripped a sizzling shot past goalie Carey Price to give the Buds their first lead.

Yet again, Matthews showed why he is one of the NHL's brightest young stars: his vision, hand-eye coordination and ability to finish plays he started himself are all as good as just about anyone in the game. And all those factors came together to give the Leafs fans in attendance at Bell Centre a reason to make themselves heard.

 

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Leafs prepare for Canadiens, aim to cut down penalty count

by Adam Proteau Proteautype / MapleLeafs.com

Coming off their first loss of the 2017-18 regular season, the Maple Leafs prepared for a visit to Montreal Saturday to take on the arch-rival Canadiens at Bell Centre. And one way they know they can help get back on the winning track is to reduce the number of visits to the penalty box they've been taking thus far.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Devils - 10/11/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 6-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils Wednesday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau / MapleLeafs.com

Video: NJD@TOR: van Riemsdyk fires home power-play goal

1. Leafs get on scoreboard first, but Devils answer back with two consecutive goals from son of Buds alumnus. Toronto was riding a three-game win streak heading into Wednesday's tilt against the unbeaten (2-0-0) Devils, and the Leafs took advantage of a power play early in the opening period to grab a 1-0 lead. The goal came via winger James van Riemsdyk, who netted his team-leading third goal of the season at 8:33 of the first.

However, New Jersey quickly returned fire, tying the game 34 seconds later on winger Miles Wood's first of the year. Wood - the son of former Leaf winger Randy Wood - struck again 1:38 after that, grabbing the puck at Toronto's blueline, breaking in alone on Buds goalie Frederik Andersen and giving the visitors a 2-1 lead at 10:45. The Buds' defensive performance has been uneven thus far this season, and the first half of the period was no different.
 

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Confident Leafs focused on avoiding 'Trap Game' against Devils

by Adam Proteau Proteautype / MapleLeafs.com

Riding the wave of a three-game win streak to start the 2017-18 regular season, the Maple Leafs went back to work Tuesday at their practice facility focused on their next opponent - the New Jersey Devils, who finished the 2016-17 campaign with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. However, this year's Devils team is also unbeaten - they've won both of their first two games in convincing style, beating their opponents by a combined score of 10-3 - and Toronto head coach Mike Babcock stressed the dangers of taking their talents for granted when they face off at Air Canada Centre Wednesday.

Riding the wave of a three-game win streak to start the 2017-18 regular season, the Maple Leafs went back to work Tuesday at their practice facility focused on their next opponent - the New Jersey Devils, who finished the 2016-17 campaign with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. However, this year's Devils team is also unbeaten - they've won both of their first two games in convincing style, beating their opponents by a combined score of 10-3 - and Toronto head coach Mike Babcock stressed the dangers of taking their talents for granted when they face off at Air Canada Centre Wednesday.

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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Blackhawks - 10/09/17

Five takeaways: Buds overcome tough start, roar back for OT win over Blackhawks

by Adam Proteau / MapleLeafs.com

1. Hawks stake out early lead as Leafs struggle with puck control. The Leafs and Blackhawks began their regular season with some identical numbers - a pair of wins and 15 goals-for for each club - but Chicago established themselves early in Monday's contest by capitalizing on Toronto breakdowns in their defensive zone and jumping out to a two-goal lead (on markers by defenceman Jan Rutta and centre Jonathan Toews) by the 7:57 mark of the first period.

The Leafs settled down after that and the two sides finished the opening frame with an almost equal amount of shots on net - Toronto had seven, while the Hawks had nine - but the most important and telling stat of the frame was in the giveaways department: the Buds surrendered the puck 10 times, while Chicago did so just four times. Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said at the morning skate his players had to be better when they had possession, and that wasn't the case in the first 20 minutes.

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