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KOSHAN: Maple Leafs, now home for a stretch, deked through trip with durability



Auston Matthews hit the nail on the head late on Tuesday night. 

“Feels like it has been a month of being on the road,” the Maple Leafs star said after Toronto beat New Jersey 4-3 in Newark.

It does seem like the Leafs have been away forever, doesn’t it? Of course, just 12 days will have passed on Thursday afternoon since Feb. 25, when the Leafs practised and departed Pearson for Seattle, where they opened their five-game trip with a 5-1 victory against the Kraken the following night. 

Perfection doesn’t exist, certainly not in professional sports, so expecting the Leafs to go 5-0 on the trip wouldn’t have been realistic. A 3-2 record looked better with the manner in which the Leafs beat the Devils. They didn’t wilt after the Devils were the better team in the first period, and they didn’t pack it in once the Devils took a one-goal lead midway through the third. 

This is what the Leafs are. Some will moan about the failure at times to properly squash teams below them in the standings, but the overriding fact is simple. The Leafs go about their business every night and usually check off the right boxes to ensure victory. They haven’t tripped into fourth place in the National Hockey League via fluke. 

Consider that the Leafs are 13-2-2 in games following a loss in regulation. Just twice this season they’ve lost in regulation in consecutive games. 

Consistency has been key, and yes, we can all point to it being the regular season and not the playoffs, but would you rather have the opposite or something less? Of course not.  

The Leafs, who had a well-earned day off on Wednesday, aren’t a team that stumbles and can’t get up. 

They were able to come home with a winning record on the trip as coach Sheldon Keefe pulled all of the trade puzzle pieces out of the box, trying to make them fit.

With 18 games remaining, there is plenty of time for Keefe to get it all right, though it is unfortunate he won’t have centre Ryan O’Reilly until, probably, the last handful of games before the playoffs.


Speaking of teams on long trips, Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers will be finishing one when they pull into town to play the Leafs on Saturday. 

The Oilers started a week-long journey with a loss in Winnipeg, followed by a win in Buffalo. On Thursday, they will visit the Boston Bruins. 

As the Leafs begin a four-game home stand, Matt Murray will get the start in net against the Oilers, barring anything unforeseen in practice. 

As much as we think Ilya Samsonov should be the Leafs’ starter once the playoffs start, it’s on the shoulders of Murray to not only stay healthy, but also get his game in a good spot in the final weeks of the regular season. The game against the Oilers will be just his fourth in two months, and Murray will attempt to win for the first time since Jan. 11, when he was victorious against Nashville. 

Samsonov has provided his Leafs teammates with a chance to win just about every time it has been required. Murray’s wealth of experience is seen as a factor when the Leafs’ post-season starter is debated. Let’s see it on display as the final stretch continues.


Matthews’ goal in New Jersey was the 51st game-winner of his career, putting him fourth on the Leafs’ franchise list, one more than Ron Ellis. 

Mats Sundin holds the team record with 79, followed by Dave Keon with 63 and Frank Mahovlich with 55. 

It’s the number of games played, in comparison to those ahead of him, that further crystallizes Matthews’ value. It’s quite impressive, how quickly Matthews moved into the top four. 

Sundin played in 981 games for Toronto; Keon played in 1,062. Mahovlich skated in 720 games for the Leafs, Ellis in 1,034.

Matthews is nowhere near any of them, coming in at 464 games played. 

Among current Leafs, William Nylander is next with 32 game-winners, enough for 14th on the franchise list.


Jake McCabe’s play in the final minute in New Jersey, including a block just before time expired, was instrumental. If O’Reilly is the most important player general manager Kyle Dubas acquired prior to the trade deadline (and we think he is), McCabe is not far off. He’s a stabilizer and knows when to get physically involved. Even better, he’s under contract for the next two seasons at just $ 2 million US against the salary cap … Morgan Rielly and Pontus Holmberg share a birthday on Thursday. Rielly turns 29, Holmberg 24 … The last word goes to Samsonov, who knows how valuable he has been. “Right now I feel good,” Samsonov said after beating the Devils. “I think about playoff time, need to get ready for playoff and feel perfect, not injuries, not nothing.”


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Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors Live Score and Stats – March 26, 2023 Gametracker – CBS Sports



TORONTO (AP) O.G. Anunoby scored 29 points, Fred VanVleet had 28 and the Toronto Raptors never trailed in a 114-104 win over Washington Wizards on Sunday.

Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Jakob Poeltl had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Anunoby had 11 made baskets, two shy of his career-high. All four of his 3-pointers came in the first quarter.


“O.G. obviously had it going tonight,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

Ninth-place Toronto clinched the three-game season series with the Wizards and maintained a three-game lead over 11th-place Washington in the Eastern Conference standings. Both teams have seven games remaining.

Toronto and Atlanta have identical 37-38 records, but the Hawks won two of three against the Raptors this season to clinch the tiebreaker.

Scottie Barnes scored 13 points in his return to the starting lineup after missing two games because of a sore left wrist as the Raptors won for the ninth time in 10 home games.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 26 points and Corey Kispert had 19 for the Wizards, who have lost eight of 10.

Washington made 18 turnovers, leading to 25 points for Toronto, and was outscored 27-11 in second-chance points.

“Our ball security wasn’t where it should be,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “Obviously they thrive in that area. We allowed their strengths to beat us.”

Deni Avdija and Johnny Davis each scored 15 points for Washington and Daniel Gafford had 10.

The short-handed Wizards played without guard Bradley Beal (left knee) for the third straight game, while forward Kyle Kuzma (right ankle) sat for the fourth straight game. Washington was also without guard Monte Morris (left groin).

“Right now, those guys are a level higher,” Porzingis said of Toronto. “ Us without our main guys, it’s a difficult task.”

Anunoby almost single-handedly outscored the Wizards with a career-high 18 points in the first quarter as Toronto led 37-21 after one. Anunoby shot 7 for 10 in the first, making 4 of 6 from long range.

“He got hot,” Porzingis said. “He was hitting 3’s, he was hitting some post-up shots. He was hitting everything else.”

Held scoreless in the opening quarter, Siakam scored 11 points in the second to give the Raptors a 63-46 halftime lead.

Porzingis scored 12 points in the third as Washington outscored Toronto 38-24. The Wizards closed to within a point, 80-79, on a 3 by Davis with 2:16 left in the quarter, but were unable to take the lead. Toronto took an 87-84 lead to the fourth.

Anunoby scored five points as the Raptors opened the fourth with a 13-3 run to restore their double-digit lead.


Wizards: Shot 1 for 8 from 3-point range in the first quarter, but went 15 for 28 over the final three quarters. Washington shot 8 for 12 from long range in the third. … Former Raptor Delon Wright shot 2 for 9 and scored five points. Wright had eight assists and seven rebounds. … Lost their fourth straight road game. … Avdija had nine rebounds and seven assists.

Raptors: F Precious Achiuwa also returned after missing two games because of a sore right hamstring. … G Gary Trent Jr. (right elbow) sat for the third straight game. … G Will Barton left in the first quarter because of a sprained left ankle and did not return.


Barnes forced a steal and finished with a 360-degree dunk for his first basket of the game.

“I thought it was great,” Anunoby said.


Toronto has won or tied the past 12 season series with Washington. The Raptors lost three of four to the Wizards in 2007-08.


The Raptors won without trailing for the fifth time. They also did it Dec. 7 against the Lakers, Jan. 12 against Charlotte, Jan. 28 at Portland, and March 14 against Denver.


Wizards: Host Boston on Tuesday.

Raptors: Host Miami on Tuesday. —

AP NBA: and

Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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Maple Leafs @ Predators 3/26 | NHL Highlights 2023 – NHL



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Switzerland win LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2023



Defending champions Switzerland beat Norway by 6-3 in Sunday afternoon’s gold medal final at the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2023.

This was a fourth successive world title for skip Silvana Tirinzoni, fourth player Alina Paetz and second Carole Howald. For Paetz and Howald it is a sixth world women’s championship title.

After blanking the first end, Switzerland’s fourth player Alina Paetz opened the scoring with a single point in the second end when she played a raise take-out.

Team Norway © WCF / Jeffrey Au

The Swiss still led by 1-0 in the fourth end when Norway’s fourth player Kristin Skaslien had a complete miss on an attempt to blank the end and gave up a steal of one point to double Switzerland’s lead to 2-0.


In the fifth end, Skaslien made amends with a draw to put two points on the board for Norway, that levelled the score at 2-2.

After another blank end in the sixth, Switzerland took the lead again in the seventh end when Paetz brought her last stone draw inside three Norwegian stones to score one (3-2).

Norway levelled again at 3-3, in the eighth end when Skaslien played a hit to promote one of her own stones into scoring position.

In the ninth end, Switzerland’s Paetz played her final draw precisely onto the button and inside three Norwegian stones, to score one and nudge her team into a 4-3 lead.

In the tenth end, Norway’s Skaslien had a draw to tie the game and force an extra end, but her shot came up short to hand Switzerland a steal of two points and a 6-3 win.

Swiss celebration after the final © WCF / Jeffrey Au

The gold medal winning Swiss team are: skip and third player Silvana Tirinzoni, fourth Alina Paetz, second Carole Howald and lead Briar Schwaller-Huerlimann, supported by their coach Pierre Charette.

The silver medal winning Norwegian team are: skip Marianne Roervik, fourth Kristin Skaslien, second Mille Haslev Nordbye, lead Martine Roenning and alternate Maia Ramsfjell, supported by their coach Rune Steen Hansen.

Gold medal game result

Norway-Switzerland: 3-6

Engage with the World Curling Federation about the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2023 on TwitterInstagramFacebook and Weibo and be searching the hashtags #WWCC2023 #curling


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