Toronto Maple Leafs

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Final Week Final Thoughts

Heading into one of the better weeks in sports as the NHL regular season winds down and playoff spots are finalized, I thought I would give some thoughts on the season and things I look forward to heading into the playoffs.

Habs and Leafs Entire Final Week in Surprisingly Similar Positions

Next Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs will face off in the final match of the season at the Bell Centre. It's an annual tradition that these two teams open and close their seasons against each other, and usually, the game has some sort of playoff implications, either for positioning or even clinching. We all remember the years where one team or the other played spoiler in that final game, and it always made the affair a little special. But this year, this match is a little different. Both the Habs and the Leafs will enter the game eliminated from playoff contention. In fact, they might even both be competing for a lottery pick when the puck drops on Saturday ...

Flyers Drub Toronto, 7-1

Toronto Maple Leafs starting goalie Jonas Gustavsson took a puck to the leg in Thursday’s warm-ups. Gustavsson laid sprawled out on the ice and was forced to leave the ice before the game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Once the puck dropped, the Flyers added insult to his injury.

Brayden Schenn opened the scoring just 5:34 into the game with a rifled shot past backup Jussi Rynnas. Schenn’s first shot was blocked, and moments later fired off a Wayne Simmonds assist.

He added another goal less than six minutes later on the power play. As the man advantage wound down, Daniel Briere found Schenn on a two-on-one. The rookie easily beat Rynnas for his 11th goal of the season.

Royals Dismantle Titans 7-0

Being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Trenton Titans have had only two goals; play spoiler to other teams in the playoff race, and try to catch the Bakersfield Condors and not be the worst team in the entire ECHL.

Sadly, they would do neither as the Reading Royals beat Trenton 7-0.

Coach Vince Williams has noted that the team is looking ahead to next season saying.

“You’re seeing what guys are made of,” he said. “You gotta earn what you’re gonna get. That’s how it should be.”

Everything Is Clicking for the Flyers Going Down the Stretch

It’s hard to believe that there are only 16 games left in the regular season.

This is the point where those on the cusp decide their fate, and those locked in begin to look ahead to the postseason.

The Philadelphia Flyers (38-21-7) currently sit in 5th place in the Eastern Conference and will most likely be heading to the playoffs.

Despite a drastically different roster than last season’s and countless injuries throughout the lineup, the team has been in the mix since the start of the season.

Will Reimer rebound?

The Toronto Maple Leafs will seek to upgrade its goaltending this summer whether James Reimer returns to his rookie form in the final 15 games or not.

General manager Brian Burke has remained adamant on retaining Reimer as the goaltender of the future---reportedly shot down a deal that would have brought back a significant return at the trade deadline---so fans should not expect the 23-year-old netminder to be going anywhere anytime soon. Registering a .921 save percentage in his rookie season, Reimer’s .899 save percentage as a sophomore is reason for concern, but nothing to fret over---at least, not yet.

Sophomore slumps are nothing new in the National Hockey League. I...

Game Preview #67 - Penguins vs Leafs

 

The time for moral victories is long over for this season, but one has to think that the Toronto Maple Leafs (30-29-7) feel pretty good about themselves despite the loss last night. The Leafs have an opportunity tonight to quickly put the memory of last night's tough and hard fought loss to the Boston Bruins behind them as they face off tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins (39-21-5). The last time the Leafs were in this building they blew a late 4-1 third period lead and ended up losing in a shootout. Jonas Gustavsson was on the hook for that loss an...

Game Preview #66 - Leafs vs Bruins

 

With the Toronto Maple Leafs (30-28-7) sitting five points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the 8th and final playoff position - albeit the Leafs have two games in hand - tonight's matchup against the Boston Bruins (38-23-3) is a must win game for the blue and white. New coach Randy Carlyle had a successful debut against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, but how the Leafs fare against the Bruins tonight will be more of an indicator as to how much of an impact Carlyle has on the squad. The Bruins have gone 4-0-0 against Toronto this season outscoring their...

Grabovski re-signs, Leafs fans exhale

 

Mikhail Grabovski has signed a five-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His cap-hit will be $5.5-million, making him the Leafs’ highest-paid forward---that is, until Phil Kessel signs an extension. The cap-hit ranks him 36th amongst forwards, tied with Shawn Horcoff. As a comparable, some of the players that make within $250-thousand more or less than Grabovski are:

Shawn Horcoff

32 points

-20

.49 PPG

Martin St-Louis

61 points

+2

1.02 PPG

Mike Richards

34 points

+4

.60 PPG

Corey Perry

54 points

-5

.81 PPG

Ryan Getzlaf

45 points

-14

A Fresh Start - Leafs Defeat Canadiens 3-1

 

On a night in which the Toronto Maple Leafs played their first game since 2008 without Ron Wilson behind the bench, the boys in blue and white defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 at the Bell Centre. While one needs to reserve judgement for the next little while until new coach Randy Carlyle can implement his systems, there were many elements to last nights game that leaves fans feeling optimistic. Defensively the Leafs were dramatically better on the night, there were no glaring mistakes that led to odd man rushes against. The Leaf forwards were also much b...