TORONTO — Mitch Marner scored twice and added an assist in a wild 59-second span midway through the third period as the Toronto Maple Leafs outscored the Carolina Hurricanes 8-6 on Monday at Scotiabank Arena.
The Toronto forward scored at 11:01 and assisted on Tyson Barrie‘s game-tying goal at 11:54. A Carolina timeout didn’t stop the momentum as Marner scored six seconds later to the delight of the 19,176 in attendance for the holiday season matinee.
Pierre Engvall sealed the victory with an empty-netter. Marner, who had three assists, recorded a game-high five points.
Jason Spezza, William Nylander, Auston Matthews and John Tavares also scored for the Maple Leafs (20-14-4), who have won five straight games.
Martin Necas and Erik Haula had two goals apiece for the Hurricanes (22-13-2) while Brock McGinn and Andrei Svechnikov added singles.
Toronto scored three times before the game was six minutes old but the Hurricanes responded by scoring five straight goals to lead 5-3 after 40 minutes.
Toronto attacked from the start and was rewarded when Spezza scored 30 seconds into the game. Tavares fed the puck in front of the net and when Brett Pesce couldn’t clear it, Spezza chipped it in on the backhand.
Pesce’s tough period continued moments later when he got the stick up on Toronto forward Zach Hyman. The Maple Leafs took advantage with two goals on the ensuing double-minor penalty.
Nylander was left alone in the slot and he wired a wrist shot past Reimer at 3:40. The Toronto power-play unit clicked again at 5:10 when Spezza fed Tavares by the side of the net and he roofed it to make it 3-0.
Former Leafs goalie James Reimer was yanked after giving up three goals on seven shots. He was replaced by Petr Mrazek and the Hurricanes seemed to feed off the change.
McGinn had a shorthanded goal at 13:49 and Necas added a power-play marker at 19:35 with a nifty redirect of a Lucas Wallmark point shot.
Carolina continued to press early in the second period. Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen made a couple of impressive stops as chants of “Fred-dy! Fred-dy!” thundered down.
The crowd was silenced later in the stanza as the Hurricanes struck for three goals in a 64-second span. A brutal Morgan Rielly giveaway led to a Necas game-tying goal at 15:09.
Necas assisted on Haula’s goal 20 seconds later and Svechnikov made it 5-3 at 16:13 to suck most of the air out of the building.
Early in the third period, Hyman found Matthews by the faceoff circle and the Toronto sniper buried a one-timer at 2:35 to cut the deficit. Haula responded with a one-timer of his own at 5:58 to restore the two-goal cushion.
Matthews made a highlight-reel cross-ice pass to set up Marner’s first goal. Engvall’s empty-netter came at 18:20.
Carolina outshot Toronto 41-39.
Former Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner, now with the Hurricanes, received a nice ovation after a video tribute was played early in the first period. Gardiner was making his return after spending eight NHL seasons in Toronto.
Notes: Canadian PGA Tour golfer Corey Conners was in attendance. … Tavares had three points in a period for the 10th time in his career. His personal best was a four-point effort for the New York Islanders against Tampa Bay in 2011. … Marner extended his point streak to eight games. … With school on winter break, thousands of kids took in the Next Gen Game.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2019.
Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.
Steven Stamkos ruled out for Game 4 of Stanley Cup final – CBC.ca
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will not play in Friday’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars, head coach Jon Cooper announced.
“He’s not going to play, but we haven’t ruled him out for the series,” Cooper said. “But he’s not going to play tonight.”
Stamkos, 30, played for the first time since Feb. 25 when he suited up for Game 3 on Wednesday. Stamkos underwent surgery in March to repair a core muscle injury. He had an initial recovery timeline of six to eight weeks, but it’s believed he aggravated the injury and experienced at least one setback since then while trying to join the team.
WATCH | Stamkos scores in 1st period back from injury:
He scored in the first period of the Lightning’s 5-2 win in Game 3 — giving Tampa Bay a 2-1 series lead — but then did not return to the bench after the first intermission. He logged 2 minutes, 47 seconds of ice time.
Despite his limited ice time, Stamkos made a big impact on his team by simply being on the ice — with the goal an added bonus.
“He only had five shifts, but probably as efficient a five shifts as you’re ever going to see in a National Hockey League playoff game,” Cooper said. “Here we are watching a player come back, and then do what he did on the biggest stage at the biggest time of year … you have to marvel at it, and it was pretty damn cool.”
“‘Stammer’s obviously he’s our leader, he’s our captain,” Tampa Bay forward Anthony Cirelli said. “To have him with us there, you give Stammer one opportunity he’s going to make it count. Just having him there with us, the emotion was high, he got that goal there for us which was a huge, huge goal and … we fed off that.”
Stamkos finished second on the team in scoring in the regular season with 66 points in 57 games. His 29 goals were also second on the team.
Taken first overall in 2008, Stamkos has 832 points (422 goals, 410 assists) in 803 regular-season games in his 12-year career, all with the Lightning. He also has 54 points (24 goals, 30 assists) in 71 career playoff games.
Manfred wants expanded playoffs format to continue, but with adjustments – Sportsnet.ca
TORONTO – Rob Manfred wants expanded playoffs to continue beyond this year with fewer than 16 teams and better rewards for division winners, a shift from the format the Toronto Blue Jays capitalized on to return to the post-season.
The current system was agreed to by Major League Baseball and the players association hours before opening day on July 23 and applies to the 2020 season only. In an interview with sportsnet.ca on Friday, the commissioner said he’s in favour of proceeding with more than the 10 teams that have reached the post-season since 2012, but with a tougher barrier-to-entry.
“I think the 16-team format was a good format for the 60-game unique season we’ve been playing in 2020. The principle reason for that is in a shortened season, it seemed like giving more teams access to the post-season was the right thing to do, the fair thing to do, No. 1,” he said. “No. 2, I do think the way things played out this year, the 16-team format has created a lot of excitement right up through the last weekend. Our biggest problem right now is that we don’t know where the heck people are going and can’t plan as far in advance as people might like. I do think it’s been really exciting for the fans.
“The third thing I would say,” Manfred added, “over the long haul, if we continue with the expanded playoffs, I think it would be fewer teams — not 16 — and I think there could be structures that are built in that preserve the incentive, for example, to win the division, preserve the incentive to play hard all the way through the 162-game season, so that the additional teams in the playoffs do not detract from the regular season. The regular season is a really important product for us and believe me, believe me, whatever we do more permanently, we will protect the value of that regular-season product.”
Alterations to the playoff format in 2021, the final year of the current collective bargaining agreement, would require union approval.
The only advantage for division winners this year under the 16-team format is that they, along with the top second-place finisher, host all the games in the best-of-three wild-card round. Advancing clubs will then gather in bubbles in California and Texas for the division, league championship and World Series.
The Blue Jays, who clinched a post-season berth Thursday, are likely to enter the playoffs as the eighth seed — although they can still surpass the New York Yankees as the second-place finisher in the American League East.
Manfred said he’s “thrilled at the rebuild Toronto has gone through and the success they enjoyed this year,” coming after the club was denied permission to host its regular-season home games by the Canadian government, and had subsequent plans to tenant in Pittsburgh and Baltimore shot down by state governments.
That led the Blue Jays to settle on Buffalo’s Sahlen Field, a plan that initially worried Manfred but ultimately exceeded his expectations.
“My concern when the decision was finally made about Buffalo was, No. 1, timing. It wasn’t just where they were going, they didn’t have a heck of a lot of time to get organized. No. 2, look, no rap on minor-league facilities in general or Buffalo in particular, our major-league facilities are really, really nice and players are used to a certain level of facility to go to work in.
“I was really concerned about our ability to deliver that,” said Manfred. “On both of those topics, the Toronto Blue Jays management team, Mark (Shapiro), Marnie Starkman, what they accomplished – and I did go to Buffalo, I saw it myself – is unbelievable, literally unbelievable.
“Not only was it playable, and serviceable, but the work they did actually created that feeling of this is the Blue Jays’ home, which I think is really important to the psyche of the team and the ability of the team to perform, and an unbelievable accomplishment given the tight timeframe.”
Livestream Toronto Blue Jays games all season with Sportsnet NOW. Plus, watch marquee MLB matchups, the post-season and World Series.
Whether the Blue Jays will be allowed to return home next season is far from certain and Manfred doesn’t know whether baseball’s rebound from early-season outbreaks among the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals is enough to change the Canadian government’s outlook.
“The one thing I can say is that we will do everything humanly possible to convince the government that the Blue Jays should play in Toronto next year,” added Manfred, who also answered questions about how adapted protocols helped save the season, considerations for next year, the future of expanded rosters and whether the pandemic has impacted the Tampa Bay Rays’ dual city plan with Montreal.
Sportsnet: After the outbreaks on the Marlins and Cardinals, which of the mid-stream changes you implemented do you feel helped turned the tide and allowed you to reach this point?
Rob Manfred: I would point to two things. First, after the, and as a result of, particularly the Cardinals situation, we realized that the key consideration was not when could you play again, but instead, what do we have to do to make sure the virus doesn’t spread among the team. You saw a change in approach after the Cardinals where immediately when we found a positive, we shut everybody down and just waited it out until we were sure we didn’t have spread. That was really important.
The second thing is kind of nature. Throughout the year we asked a lot of the players, we asked them to change the way they play the game on the field, we asked them to change the way they lived their private lives, to tell you the truth. The two early incidents just drove home to everybody involved, us, our managers/coaches, front office personnel and the players, that attention to detail, the masks, the distancing is just absolutely crucial.
SN: Hopefully the world is a safer place next year as it relates to COVID-19, but if things level off where we’re at right now, could the protocols currently in place be employed over a 162-game season?
Manfred: That’s too much of a crystal ball for me. Obviously the longer you go, the tougher it is to maintain the (current) model, the more likely it is you’re going to have lapses. All I can say to you about that is what happens next year is going to be dictated by the course of the virus.
SN: The Blue Jays, among others, really leveraged expanded rosters this year. Given all the injuries experienced this year, the shortened body of work for pitchers, and interrupted player-development supply, can a season be safely conducted with only 26 on the roster next year?
Manfred: I think it’s realistic that at some point next year, we could get back to 26. What I would say to you is I suspect, depending on the course of the virus, that there would be a number of operational issues that we’ll have to work through with the MLBPA.
Even if we have a vaccine and everything is good on the health front, there are going to be some results from 2020 that are going to require us to have those kinds of conversations and to continue to show some type of creativity and flexibility to put a quality product out there.
Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering off all the latest news with opinion and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.
SN: What’s your sense at this point of what the minor-leagues are going to look like in 2021 between the expected cutting of teams and the need to restart some wider scale player development?
Manfred: Too early to tell on that one. The only thing I can say on that is we recognize that player development is the long-term lifeblood of the industry and whatever form it takes, there probably will be more activity next year than there was this.
SN: For baseball fans in Montreal, how has the pandemic impacted the Rays’ dual-city plan and MLB’s outlook for potential expansion?
Manfred: The Rays process, probably not significantly affected given the timing of that process. With respect to expansion, it’s hard not to admit that, to the extent that there was a certain timeline where expansion was going to be considered, I would say that the pandemic has probably pushed that timeline back.
Lakers' Davis questionable for Game 5 – TSN
Los Angeles Lakers superstar centre Anthony Davis is questionable for Saturday’s Game 5 against the Denver Nuggets after suffering a sprained left ankle late in LA’s Game 4 win Thursday night.
Backup shooting guard Dion Waiters is also questionable with a sore left groin while Alex Caruso (sore right wrist), Danny Green (Volar plate injury, left ring finger) and LeBron James (sore right groin) are probable.
The 27-year-old Davis has been one of the Lakers best performers in the postseason bubble, averaging 28.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists over 14 games, including hitting a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
The Lakers can advance to the NBA Finals with a win on Saturday.
The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for Sept. 25 – CBC.ca
A Practical Guide to Social Media Crisis Management | Corporate Counsel – Law.com
Ring's Flying In-Home Camera Drone Escalates Privacy Worries – Threatpost
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Richmond BBQ spot speaks out about coronavirus rumours Vancouver Is Awesome
- Art10 hours ago
Novelist Ali Smith Finds Art for All Seasons – The Wall Street Journal
- Economy19 hours ago
Why stock markets are up 44% amid the worst economic contraction in history – CBC.ca
- Media19 hours ago
Social & sensible: Due to the lockdown, time spent on social media grew exponentially for everyone. So is a break the need of the hour? – The Tribune India
- Tech20 hours ago
Apple's Smaller Rivals Unite to Fight iPhone App Store Rules – Gadgets 360
- Science16 hours ago
CP Holiday Train derailed this holiday season due to the pandemic – Barrie 360 – Barrie 360
- Sports13 hours ago
Blue Jays have key decisions to make in coming days as post-season nears – Sportsnet.ca
- Health16 hours ago
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 25 – CBC.ca
- Media14 hours ago
Anaconda Mining fires employee for racist, homophobic social media posts – CBC.ca