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Leafs salvage victory over Ducks with Tavares' game-winner in dying seconds of OT –



It was a script Maple Leafs fans have seen before.

Earlier this week, in fact.

Up 3-1 in the third period and seemingly in complete control, Toronto allowed an opponent to wrestle the momentum away without much of a response for the second time in five days.

The Leafs managed to save face in this one, but plenty of questions remain for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations currently in a battle for its playoff life.

John Tavares scored his second goal of the night at 4:53 of overtime Friday as Toronto escaped with a 5-4 victory against Anaheim Ducks after blowing 3-1 and 4-3 leads in the final 20 minutes.

WATCH | Leafs sneak past Ducks in OT:

The Toronto Maple Leafs blew a 2-goal lead in the 3rd period, but managed to top the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 in overtime to salvage the win. 1:43

“It seems like we’re just lacking some confidence in those situations,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said after his team was outshot 15-4 in the third by a club playing the second of a back-to-back. “Almost like we’re waiting or expecting something bad to happen.

“It’s not what we want to be about.”

Auston Matthews buried his 40th goal of the season to tie Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead, while Jason Spezza and Andreas Johnsson, who was promoted to the top line with William Nylander out sick, provided the rest of the offence for Toronto (29-19-7). Matthews picked up three assists for a four-point performance, while Mitch Marner added three of his own. Tavares also had an assist.

Campbell gets 1st win

Jack Campbell made 26 saves in his first start for the Leafs following Wednesday’s trade with the Los Angeles Kings.

“What a resilient group,” said Campbell, who admitted to some early jitters. “That’s a tough game when you give up the lead like that.

“But as a team you’ve got to appreciate the resilience.”

Tavares scored his 22nd goal on a redirection at the lip of the crease with 6.2 seconds left on the clock in the extra period off a sweet Marner feed after Rickard Rakell went off for tripping.

“We just had to stay with it,” Tavares said. “Not a very good third period. Not ideal and something we have to clean up.”

Adam Henrique, with a goal and an assist, Nicolas Deslauriers, Max Jones and Derek Grant replied for Anaheim (22-26-7), which was playing its third game in four nights following Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss in Montreal.

Ryan Miller stopped 30 shots for the Ducks, who were forced to go with five defenceman for the third period and overtime after Erik Gudbranson left with an upper-body injury. Cam Fowler had two assists.

“We battled,” Anaheim head coach Dallas Eakins said. “We fought hard and showed some great character.”

The Leafs led 3-1 in the third Monday, but caved against the Florida Panthers — a team missing its best player in Aleksander Barkov — in a 5-3 loss.

‘You take the good and the bad’

Toronto’s victory Friday saw the club jump back into a playoff spot in third in the Atlantic Division, a point ahead of Florida, which has a game in hand.

“You just take the good and bad,” Matthews said of a win tainted by another squandered lead. “We don’t want to get in that position, and it’s been a position that we’ve been falling into quite a bit.”

After Terry scored shorthanded and Henrique, on a power play, added another just over four minutes apart to level things 3-3 midway through the third, Spezza got Toronto back in front when he raced down the right side, faked a shot on Miller, and scored his ninth upstairs from a tight angle with 3:28 left in regulation.

“That was an elite goal,” Keefe said of the 36-year-old’s effort. “He still hasn’t lost that.”

Auston Matthews, right, celebrates his goal with teammate Mitchell Marner during the second period. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

But Grant poked home his 13th with 57 seconds left on the clock off a scramble to knot it up again and force OT.

Campbell and bruising forward Kyle Clifford both made their debuts for the Leafs following Wednesday’s deal that sent winger Trevor Moore and two draft picks the other way.

With No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen still out nursing a neck injury suffered Monday and backup Michael Hutchinson unable to get the job done in Wednesday’s 5-3 setback at the New York Rangers, Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas pulled the trigger with his team sitting below the post-season cutline.

Andersen won’t make the trip to Montreal for Saturday’s tilt, but could return next week after consecutive days on the ice. Keefe said he hadn’t decided on his starter at the Bell Centre, but it seems likely Campbell will get the tap on the shoulder.

“We gave it back a little bit there in the third,” Clifford said. “We want to lock the game down and suck the life out of them.”

Matthews joins Maple Leafs lore

Tied 1-1 after the first, Tavares scored his third goal in as many games on a power play 3:38 into the second.

After the Leafs killed off a Tavares penalty midway through the second, the captain found Matthews off the rush, and he buried his 40th on a bullet one-timer at 13:18. The 22-year-old equalled the career-high 40 he scored in his rookie season back in 2016-17, and tied the 34-year-old Oveckhin’s league lead in 2019-20.

He’s also the fifth Leaf to record two 40-goal seasons with the team, joining Darryl Sittler, Frank Mahovlich, Lanny McDonald and Rick Vaive.

“It means a lot,” Matthew said of reaching 40 in just 55 games. “It’s a big tribute to those guys that I play with.”

Expected to add some much-needed grit to Toronto’s talent-loaded roster, Clifford mixed it up with Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf during a scrum near Campbell’s net.

WATCH | 9 NHL black history moments … in 90 seconds:

Willie O’Ree broke the league’s colour barrier in 1958, and there have been a lot of firsts since then. Rob Pizzo walks you through 9 trailblazers for Black History Month.  1:53

He got a rousing ovation from the 19,077 on hand at Scotiabank Arena as both men skated to the penalty box.

Campbell didn’t have a lot to do through two periods as the Leafs kept things tight, but he had to be sharp on a couple of Fowler chances late in the second.

Anaheim came out strong in the third and Jones took advantage of a Johnsson turnover on Toronto power play before beating Campbell upstairs on a breakaway for his seventh at 8:34.

The Ducks tied it with 7:13 left in regulation when Henrique batted his 18th out of mid-air on a man advantage after Clifford went off for holding the stick.

“I don’t think we skated well enough,” Tavares said of the Toronto’s third. “We didn’t initiate the play and they came out with good energy.”

It’s something the Leafs know needs to change — and fast.

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Jays (Finally) Win One – Bluebird Banter



Jays 6 Orioles 1

It is about time.

This is just a space holder for the recap, my tennis went long.

Ross Stripling was amazing. Just 1 hit allowed in 6.1. He threw 72 pitches and was in control.

And the offence finally broke through for 6 runs in the 8th (imagine the Hallaluah chorus playing here). And George Springer got his 1000th hit.

Life is good again.

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Here are the Raptors games you don’t want to miss in the 2022-23 season –



The Toronto Raptors will open their 2022-23 NBA season on Oct. 19 at Scotiabank Arena. Their regular season will conclude on April 9 at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Here are some things to highlight in the Raptors’ schedule this season.

Facing off against familiar foes

As has become customary, former beloved Raptors — especially those from the 2019 championship team — are likely to receive heroes’ welcomes upon their return to Toronto. If you’re looking to join in on the festivities, here’s a list of notable players and their arrivals back at Scotiabank Arena:

Demar DeRozan: In his second season with the Chicago Bulls, DeRozan is scheduled to pay two visits to Toronto: First on Nov. 6, and then on Feb. 28.

Serge Ibaka: Now with the Milwaukee Bucks, Ibaka is slated to return to Scotiabank Arena on Jan. 4 and the season finale on April 9.

Kawhi Leonard: The 2019 Finals MVP missed all of last season recovering from a partial tear in his right knee. He will, hopefully, be available when his Los Angeles Clippers come to town on Dec. 27.

Kyle Lowry: The return to Toronto for perhaps the most beloved Raptor of all time, and his Miami Heat, will be on Nov. 16 and March 28.

Norman Powell: Now a member of the Clippers, Powell will be accompanying Leonard when Los Angeles visits Toronto on Dec. 27.

Jonas Valanciunas: The well-liked New Orleans Pelicans centre and his team will be visiting on Feb. 23.

January could prove to be a pivotal month

Looking at each individual month of the schedule, January stands out since it features both the longest homestand the team will enjoy as well as the start of its longest road trip.

For six games and 11 days between Jan. 4 and Jan. 14, the Raptors will play in the friendly confines of Scotiabank Arena as they look to kick off the new year with some wind in their sails. The Raptors will face Milwaukee, New York, Portland, Charlotte twice (but not on a back-to-back) and then Atlanta during that period.

Beginning on Jan. 25 and then lasting seven games and 12 days until Feb. 5, the Raptors will be on their longest road swing of the season with stops in Sacramento, Golden State, Portland, Phoenix, Utah, Houston and Memphis.

The contests against Golden State and Portland will be back-to-backs and are one of 12 back-to-back sets the team will play this season (two fewer than last season).

Given the scheduling quirks in January, it could be important month as a means for the Raptors to rack up wins during the homestand and test themselves out on the road still with plenty of runway until the post-season.

Other games of note

Here’s a quick list of other notable games to keep an eye on:

Nov. 23/Dec. 16 — versus Brooklyn: It’s unclear if Kevin Durant will still be a member of the Brooklyn Nets when they make their trips up north, but if he is, that will surely be a scene at Scotiabank Arena.

Nov. 26 — versus Dallas: The NBA’s brightest young star, Luka Doncic, and his Dallas Mavericks are coming to town early in the season. As a bonus, Canadian national team stud Dwight Powell also plays for Dallas.

Dec. 5 — versus Boston: The eighth annual Giants of Africa Game celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela.

Dec. 7 — versus Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers make their annual visit to Toronto.

Dec. 18 — versus Golden State: Canadian Andrew Wiggins and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors make their only trip to the Six.

Dec. 29 — versus Memphis: Raptors fans will be in for a treat as high-flying point guard Ja Morant will make his only trip to Toronto, but more importantly, Canadians Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke will be playing on home soil once again.

Jan. 6/Jan. 22 — versus New York: R.J. Barrett and the New York Knicks will be in Toronto in January.

Jan. 8 — versus Portland: Dame time is well and good, but the real attraction with this match is the opportunity to see London, Ont., native Shaedon Sharpe live. The most mysterious pick in the 2022 draft, no one really knows what kind of player he may be.

Feb. 10 — versus Utah: Canada’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker and the Utah Jazz will take on the Raptors in Toronto.

March 14 — versus Denver: Two-time defending MVP Nikola Jokic and Canadian star guard Jamal Murray will be in town with the Denver Nuggets to take on the Raptors.

March 16 — versus Oklahoma City: A game after hosting Murray, the Raptors will invite in another of Canada’s best in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort when they face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

March 22 — versus Indiana: With three Canadians on the Indiana Pacers roster (Oshae Brissett and rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard), this Wednesday night in March should be a special one at Scotiabank Arena.

March 24 — versus Detroit: Canadian veterans Kelly Olynyk and Cory Joseph feature on this young, exciting Detroit Pistons team, but the storyline that will likely be on Raptors fans’ minds when the Pistons visit will be if Dwane Casey will, once again, get the best of his former team.

U.S. national television games

Lastly, for those who care about this kind of thing, the Raptors announced they will be on U.S. national television four times (twice on ESPN and twice on TNT). Additionally, Toronto will play on NBATV five times this season.

The Raptors will appear on two more U.S. national television games than last season.

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Czechia pulls off major upset over U.S., advances to WJC semifinal vs. Canada –



Czechia completed a 4-2 upset win over the previously unbeaten United States on Wednesday to punch its ticket to the semifinal of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton.

After the United States’ Logan Cooley opened the scoring just over 12 minutes into the game, Czechia responded with three straight tallies to take control of the contest against the defending champs.

Jan Mysak, Petr Hauser, Matyas Sapovaliv and Jiri Kulich all scored for Czechia. Kulich also recorded two assists.

Matthew Berard of the U.S. was assessed a five-minute major and a match penalty for slew-footing early in the third period. Czechia was unable to capitalize on the man advantage.

Later in the third, Czechia’s Stanislav Svozil received a five-minute major and a match penalty of his own after initiating a knee-on-knee hit with Cooley. The third-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft would remain in the game after the collision.

The U.S. capitalized on the man advantage courtesy of Carter Mazur to cut the deficit to 3-2. Kulich would later add an empty netter

Luke Hughes of the U.S. sustained an apparent lower-body injury early in the first period, he would exit the game and return for the start of the second frame.

Czechia is set to play Canada in Thursday’s semifinals. Sweden plays Finland in the other semi.

Czechia, which hasn’t won a medal at the event since 2005 when it captured bronze, went 1-0-1-2 in the round-robin stage.

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