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Fans believing in Maple Leafs again

Expectations raised with Toronto nearing playoff berth

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- It has been a rough few days for Steve "Dangle" Glynn.

His credit card number has been stolen, he has spent the morning stuck in the horrendous Oshawa-to-Toronto highway morass, and a piece of tire has bounced off his car as he tried to navigate the traffic. He will later be rear-ended on his commute home. And yet, Glynn is bouncing, bounding, his eyes alight, as he rushes to the Starbucks counter.

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Steven Stamkos knows he's running out of time

With Lightning's playoff hopes flickering, star center still not ready to return from knee injury

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- As the days go on and the games pass, center Steven Stamkos is aware his return from knee surgery this season becomes less and less likely.

He knows the Tampa Bay Lightning have 10 guaranteed games remaining in their season. It is tugging on him.

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Bruins don't feel sense of deja vu

After falling out of postseason race late the past two seasons, players won't panic following three losses in row

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- There is at least one consolation for Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy: When he wakes up on Wednesday, a breather for the Bruins after back-to-back games and back-to-back losses, his team will still be in contention for a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.

"I don't think I'm going to wake up tomorrow and see us eliminated," Cassidy said. "So we're going to go back to work on Thursday against Tampa. We're going to keep playing well and keep playing hard. We're going to reinforce the positive."

But it is also true -- and this probably isn't the positive he wants reinforced -- that the postseason chances for the Bruins are more tenuous than they were last week, or this weekend, or even Monday night.

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Maple Leafs showing they're for real

Toronto inches closer to postseason berth in playoff-type atmosphere

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- There is no longer any doubt about the narrative that Nazem Kadri and the Toronto Maple Leafs have been pushing for much of the season: They are for real. They can make some noise. They can get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That looked even more likely on Monday, after the Maple Leafs completed a season sweep of the Boston Bruins of at least four games for the first time since 1924-1925 with a 4-2 win at Air Canada Centre, putting them one point back of the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division with one game in hand. It gave them a bit of breathing room too on their closest competition for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, with a three-point advantage on the New York Islanders and four points on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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NHL Insider

Atlantic Division notebook

Bruins-Canadiens playoff series would have plenty of storylines

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- The picture is a little too enticing not to ponder: The Boston Bruins. The Montreal Canadiens. A matchup with all the history and rivalry and controversy one could want.

Plus, there's the coaching situation. Until Feb. 7, Claude Julien coached the Bruins. On Feb. 14, he became the coach of the Canadiens.

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Maple Leafs experience what playoff hockey would be

Overtime loss to Blackhawks gives young team glimpse of postseason

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- This was the kind of game this Toronto Maple Leafs team needs, a tight, drawn-out, down-to-the-final-minutes-and-into-overtime game against a good opponent in the Chicago Blackhawks.

This was playoff hockey. This was what the race will be like, something that the young Maple Leafs have been learning through the past month and will continue to learn over the next three weeks.

With the New York Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto's main competitors for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, losing on Saturday, the Maple Leafs scratched and clawed to get at least one point, a point that could come up big as the season winds down, at Air Canada Centre.

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NHL Green

Andrew Ference excited about new sustainability role

Former defenseman, instrumental in starting NHL Green, helping businesses adapt clean technology strategies

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

When Andrew Ference, the former NHL player, was in Boston recently, it wasn't just for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. It went beyond that, beyond speaking on a panel entitled, "Green is Good: The Role of Sustainability in Sports," because Ference's mission is beyond talking about sustainability. It's about action.

That action started much earlier, more than a decade ago when Ference started small, in his own house, recycling and composting. It got bigger when he began to apply it to his job, to the NHL, helping in 2007 to create a carbon neutral practice that counterbalanced the emissions of his teammates and League-mates in their travel. It moved to the NHL and Green Week, and from there the idea is for it to spread further, to partners and fans, casual viewers and rabid consumers, with Ference and others as influencers.

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Drew Stafford fitting in with Bruins

Forward's game-winning goal against Flyers fourth point in four games for Boston

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- He has slipped into the lineup and the team and the building as if he belonged all the time. There was not much of an adjustment, no wait, no question.

The move by the Boston Bruins -- acquiring forward Drew Stafford from the Winnipeg Jets for a conditional sixth-round pick at the trade deadline -- had surprised some, especially those used to doubting the current regime over the past two disappointing years. But this one? They liked this move. They liked the price that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney paid for Stafford, liked his potential, liked the sense of possibility that has opened up in Boston over the past month.

And Stafford has delivered, as he did on Saturday, scoring a goal with 5.6 seconds remaining in the third period to give the Bruins a 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden. He has delivered before, too, adding that score to another goal and two assists in four games for Boston.

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NHL Insider

Bruins get 400 participants for Girls Hockey Day

First-time event offers clinics, instruction to youth players, women

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- The girls formed a half circle, the skaters in the inner rings, the goaltenders following at the edges. They kneeled around Roger Grillo, USA Hockey regional manager of the American Development Model, as he led them in instructions. Around them skated a dozen professional players from the Boston Pride and the Boston Blades.

The girls clearly took the coaching to heart. Not long after they were engaged in drills all over the ice, learning from the professional players they could perhaps one day be, enhancing their skills as parents and friends watched. It was all a part of a new initiative for the Boston Bruins, the team's first-ever Girls Hockey Day at TD Garden, which drew about 400 participants from around New England on Friday.

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NHL Green

NHL Green focuses on environmental sustainability

League believes clean water, cold temperatures vital to growth of hockey

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

It all starts with the ice, and with the outdoors. That's where hockey begins. That's where NHL Green begins.

"The reason why the League is focused on environmental sustainability issues is because of two major points: The roots of our sport are tied to playing outdoors and therefore we need cold weather, and the fact that the way we play is on fresh water, frozen fresh water," said Omar Mitchell, NHL vice president for corporate social responsibility.

That's it: The outdoors and the water, the need to keep both habitable, sustainable, usable. That is why the NHL has opted to make NHL Green one of its signature social responsibility platforms, alongside NHL Fights Cancer and Hockey is for Everyone. Green Week will take place March 11-17.

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