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NHL Playoffs: Maple Leafs Face Bruins in Do or Die Situation

 

Game 5 in Boston, 7pm ESTBruins Lead, 3-1 

BOSTON -- Here we are: the Toronto Maple Leafs' first do or die game in nine years. If they defeat the Boston Bruins tonight, they live to play one more game. If they lose, it will be time to hit the golf course.

Let the jokes begin.

In all seriousness, this game is a big one for the city of Toronto and fans of the Maple Leafs. The last time people were so invested in the Blue and White was when the team sat above the Eastern Conference standings early in the 2011-2012 season only to crash and burn to a 13th place finish. Fans hope the team will come away with a better result but history isn't o...

Toronto Maple Leafs Continue to Prove Critics Wrong

Many people doubted the Toronto Maple Leafs heading into the 2013 playoffs but as the team is showing, those who did were wrong to look down on them.

You may first ask yourself what the heck that's supposed to mean when the Maple Leafs find themselves down three games to one. After all, how could a team facing elimination in game five be doing so well?

The Maple Leafs' pre-playoff "haters" certainly had reason to put the team in a negative light at least when it came to their first round matchup. Facing the Boston Bruins, Toronto's chances at advancing to the second round were noticed as being slim-to-none before the puck even dropped on ga...

Isles Begin Final Road Stretch In Toronto

The New York Islanders kick of their final stretch of games for the 2013 season against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. The Isles play their last 5 games of the lockout-shortened season away from Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders head in to Toronto 1-0-1 against the Maple Leafs this season. After a huge 7-4 win over the Leafs back in January, the Isles lost 5-4 in overtime against Toronto in February, where Nazeem Kadri tallied his first NHL hat-trick for the Leafs.

No Room For Bozak in Leafs' future

*This article originally appeared on www.mapleleafscentral.com

“If the player wants to be here and we want him, my experience has been that generally we find a way to make it happen."

That quote is from general manager Dave Nonis on April 3 in regards to a possible Tyler Bozak extension.

It’s worrisome if you believe Bozak is the Toronto Maple Leafs’ weakest link among their top-nine centres. The statistics support that claim, as Bozak seems to excel at faceoffs and not much else. His defensive play is suspect and he’s generally a passenger on the top line considering the amount of ice-time he receives. He leads all Maple Leafs in time on ice...

Leafs Should Target Bouwmeester

*This article originally appeared at thehockeywriters.com/mapleleafscentral

If Dave Nonis plans on being active before the trade deadline on April 3, Jay Bouwmeester should be a primary target.

The 29-year-old comes with a hefty cap-hit at $6.68 million, which runs through next season, but he’s exactly what the Toronto Maple Leafs require: a first-pair defenseman capable of playing tough minutes.

Bouwmeester ranks third among NHL defensemen in Corsi QoC (quality of competition) at even strength, behind only Dion Phaneuf and Mike Weber.  He averages over 25 minutes of ice-time per game with over three of those minutes coming on the penalty kill. Acquiring a pla...

Can the Leafs Sustain Their Success?

*This article was originally published at thehockeywriters.com/mapleleafscentral

If the underlying statistics are any indication, the Toronto Maple Leafs may soon crash back down to Earth.

The Maple Leafs have had difficulties this season limiting their opponents’ shots against, ranking 28th in the National Hockey League in shots for percentage at even strength. Moreover, their Fenwick for percentage (the accumulation of saves, goals and missed shots) at even-strength ranks 29th.

The league standings of the 2011-12 season can attest to the importance of puck possession as the top ten teams generally had a strong FF%:

Teams StandingsFenwick For %Vancouver Ca...

Why the Leafs Shouldn't Re-Sign Bozak

https://twitter.com/kevin_mcgran/status/310093153946451969

That tweet is from the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran on Mar. 8 after Ryan Getzlaf re-signed with the Anaheim Ducks on an eight-year contract extension. It’s also a representation of the misconception that Tyler Bozak is a capable first-line centre.

It should be noted from the outset that Bozak is not to blame. It’s not his fault he’s been miscast as a top line player, and one certainly can’t fault him for doing his best in a role beyond his capabilities. There are enough underlying statistics to prove that Bozak is probably better-suited on the third-line (which we’ll get to), but it e...

Reeling Flyers Take On Streaking Bruins

The Philadelphia Flyers have one mission: beat a contender. The Boston Bruins host the Flyers this afternoon in perhaps one of the most critical games of the lockout shortened season.

Isles Are Stranded Without A Home

Any Islanders fan that has been at the Coliseum in the past couple of years will be able to support everything I am about to say.

It takes more than a house to make a home and the 2013 NHL season on Long Island continues to prove that.

Somehow, someway fans of every other team get their hands on boat loads of tickets creating an environment that wipes out home ice advantage.

This epidemic has been obvious in almost every home game this year. Every team from near and far, will fill the Nassau Coliseum with their loyalties and jerseys. The Devils, Flyers, Bruins and Leafs have all taken over the Coliseum recently.

How embarrassing was it for fans to watch hats rain from the ceiling when Toronto's Kadri netted his third goal to complete a hat trick on Thursday?

Franson Deserves Promotion

Cody Franson is finally being recognized as a capable offensive defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But how high is the 25-year-old’s ceiling and how can Randy Carlyle utilize him? Let’s take a closer look at the underlying statistics.

Franson currently averages 12:49 even-strength ice-time per game with 2:50 on the PP (and 27 seconds on the penalty kill). He’s logged a total of 196:49 minutes of ES ice-time, and has produced an impressive 8 points 5-on-5 (1 goal, 7 assists—4 were primary assists). That’s a lot of points for the ice-time he receives. In fact, his points/60 rate is 2.44, which ranks him first among NHL defensemen. To put that i...