The Toronto Maple Leafs took a pivotal 3-2 lead in their first round playoff series with the Boston Bruins following a 2-1 victory in Game 5 of the series on Friday night. They got the win partially due to the benefit of a controversial call.
Auston Matthews scored the first goal of the game, putting the Leafs up 1-0 in the third period on a one-timer. Prior to the goal, Leafs winger Zach Hyman backed into Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, making contact with him.
Boston challenged the goal, believing there was goalie interference, but the goal stood.
Kasperi Kapanen scored to put Toronto up 2-0, while Boston finally got on the board with a David Krejci goal later in the game.
Game 6 of the series will take place on Sunday in Toronto with the Leafs looking to close things out. The winner gets the Columbus Blue Jackets in the next round.
The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs have a very strong chance of squaring off in the first round of the playoffs, and the two division rivals are gearing up for that with some friendly smack talk.
Maple Leafs center Mitch Marner recently became just the eighth player in franchise history to record 80 points in 66 games or fewer games, and the 21-year-old has emerged as one of the better players in the NHL. The potential problem that could create for Toronto is that he is a restricted free agent, and the Leafs are not in great salary cap shape. On Tuesday, Marchand seemingly referenced that by saying Marner should get $12 million per year on his next deal.
Marchand, a known agitator, obviously doesn’t care how much Marner gets paid. What he really wants to see is the former No. 4 overall pick become too expensive for the Maple Leafs, who already pay Auston Matthews and John Tavares more than $10 million annually each.
When asked about Marchand’s tweet on Wednesday, Toronto GM Kyle Dubas said he doesn’t blame Marchand for paying so much attention to the Leafs.
All of this should make the potential first-round series between the Bruins and Maple Leafs even more entertaining. Plus, you never know when Marchand will pull out some of his disgusting antics. The guy is a master at getting under the skin of opponents, and he appears to have even done that with a rival team’s GM.
A pair of Scandinavian players on the Toronto Maple Leafs are paying up on a friendly Olympic wager.
Center Leo Komarov, who is part Finnish, and right wing William Nylander, who is Swedish, wore Team Canada sweaters to practice on Wednesday after losing a bet with their coaches. Here is footage, via Mark Masters of TSN.
Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun provided more context about the bet.
For reference, Canada defeated Finland 1-0 in their men’s hockey quarterfinal on Wednesday in PyeongChang. Meanwhile, Sweden did not cross paths with Canada, but also got eliminated in the quarterfinal with a 4-3 loss to Germany.
While the Leafs’ bet definitely made for a classic moment, it is probably only the second funniest storyline we have seen involving Canadian hockey at this year’s Games.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are facing elimination in their NHL Playoff first-round series against the Washington Capitals, but coach Mike Babcock is convinced his squad isn’t done just yet.
The Maple Leafs lost to the Washington Capitals 2-1 in overtime at the Verizon Center Friday, which sends them back to Toronto’s Air Canada Centre for a do-or-die Game 6 on Sunday. Babcock made clear that he’s expecting a return to D.C. for Game 7, though.
This sounds an awful lot like a guaranteed victory, which, as you can see, sometimes works out better than other times. The players probably appreciate the belief, though.
Mikhail Grabovski is getting married on Friday, but he may not be in the best mood when he begins the next chapter of his life. On Thursday night, Grabovski was waived by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Grabovski spent five seasons with the Leafs, but his dip in production last season (9 goals and 7 assists) made the four years and $27.5 million he had remaining on his contract too much for Toronto to handle. After learning of his release, Grabovski went on an expletive-filled tirade in an interview with TSN. The Toronto Sun transcribed the outburst, which included a lot of bad words.
“Of course I feel (expletive) sad … I played (expletive) five years here,” Grabovski said. “I’m supposed to feel upset about that. I loved it (here). … Toronto fans are the best fans in the world.
“I play in the (expletive) KHK, I make lots of (expletive) points and what’s going to happen. … He (Leafs coach Randy Carlyle) makes me (expletive) play on the fourth line and he put me in the playoffs on the fourth line and third line again. Yeah, I don’t score goals. I need to work more about that. I know that. But if you feel support from your coach … I don’t feel any support from this (expletive) idiot.”
You think the bride is worried? The NHL free agency period opens on Friday and Grabovski is only 29 years old, so he will be able to find another job. Hopefully he got all the F-bombs out of his system before the big day.
Video via Twitter/Sean Leahy
The Boston Bruins did not have many people outside the New England area rooting for them in the Stanley Cup Finals, because people love to see Boston teams lose. The recent success of the Bruins, Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics has made people resent fans in the Boston area for what they believe are overly cocky attitudes. The city of Toronto had a difference reason for rooting for the Bruins to lose.
If you can remember back to mid-May, you may recall the Maple Leafs leading the Bruins 4-1 halfway through the third period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Toronto somehow went on to lose that game, and the city has not gotten over it.
I never understood stuff like this. Wouldn’t you want to be able to say you lost to the best? Not only that, but Toronto is just calling further attention to the embarrassing meltdown the Maple Leafs put their fans through in their first playoff appearance since 2004.
If this was a Montreal paper, you could understand. The Bruins and Canadiens have one of the greatest rivalries in sports. The Maple Leafs are simply trying to form an identity roughly 50 years after they used to own the NHL. This doesn’t really help.
The Toronto Maple Leafs completed the biggest choke job in the history of the third period of Game 7 Stanley Cup Playoff hockey. Yes, the Leafs blew a 4-1 lead in the third, gave up two goals in 31 seconds, and lost to the Boston Bruins 5-4 in overtime to lose Game 7 of their Eastern Conference series on Monday night.
The local paper, the Toronto Sun decided to put the joke err choke on them. It was rightfully deserved.
Hey, Leafs fans, it’s not as if we haven’t been there before; the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers in 2010. Happens to the best of us.
A man who was acting as Santa Claus at a festival in Toronto was fired for telling a young boy that the Maple Leafs suck.
The Santa apparently showed up 30 minutes late for his gig at Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market and then proceeded to insult a 3-year-old boy.
“The first thing he tells my son is, ‘Oh, you look like Paul Bunyan,'” the child’s mother told the Toronto Sun. “Really? Is that appropriate?
“Then he said, ‘Oh, you’re wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs tuque, you shouldn’t be wearing that, they suck.’”
The mother took the insults as a clear sign to leave. She says her son was crying all the way home and asked who Paul Bunyan was. The mother says all she could tell her son was that Santa was having a bad day.
Upset over the issue, the mother went on the festival’s Facebook page to complain.
Just came back from the market and I am fuming! The market itself was so so, great freebies and great carol singers. But, I have a 3 year old and the reason we went there was for him to see Santa. SANTA WAS A JERK! My son waited in line during a cold and snowy afternoon and the first thing Santa told him was that his thick GAP black and red jacket made him look like Paul Bunyan. Then he also pointed out my son’s Toronto Maple leafs winter toque and said he shouldnt be wearing that and that the Maple leafs suck! What an awful experience for my boy, because Santa said his favorite team sucked! then my son wanted to know who Paul Bunyan was. It was the worst Santa experience! My initial post was deleted so I am reposting this.
The woman says she received an apology from the event’s organizers. The Toronto Sun also confirmed that the Santa has been fired.
And here we were thinking this sort of thing only happened in movies. This is the exact sort of thing that could scar a poor child for life.
Stick tap to Backhand Shelf via Puck Daddy
Since I have never been a season ticket holder for any sports team, I can’t imagine how an apology letter from the team would feel. On one hand, the team doesn’t have to say anything. The front office can just sit quietly, count the thousands of dollars you spent over the course of a season, and accept that such is life in the unpredictable world of sports. Season ticket holders know the risk they take when they agree to go to every home game, so I have no major problem with that. Either that, or the team can apologize for a bad season. Here is the letter that the Maple Leafs sent to their fans, which was pointed out by Michele Steele on Twitter:
Hockey is already the red-headed step child of the sports world, and something tells me that an endorsement from Justin Bieber isn’t going to help.
The Beebs says that if he wasn’t titillating tweens around the world with his barely-tolerable musical stylings, he’d be…playing pro hockey?
“Singing is my first passion, but if things didn’t work out, I would be trying to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs,” Bieber said confidently. “I’m sure I could teach them a thing or two with my mad skills!”
Despite his pee wee league experience (check out his player card), he obviously didn’t get the memo that flatironing your hair isn’t considered a “mad skill” valued by the NHL. Although, picturing Milan Lucic or Matt Cooke dropping the gloves against Justin Bieber makes us absolutely giddy with bloodlust. Better keep JB away from Sean Avery though…they might trade fashion tips.