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Maple Leafs report cards: Mitch Marner shines, Luke Schenn returns in win over Flames



A new-look Toronto team made its official debut Thursday night, with all six recent acquisitions getting in the lineup.

It wasn’t always pretty. In fact, the first period was quite sloppy. But integrating six new players into the lineup — with Luke Schenn and Erik Gustafsson making their debuts — isn’t easy. The team got better as the game went on with a strong third period to close out a 2-1 win over Calgary on the second night of a back-to-back. If nothing else, the game was much better than the poor showing in Edmonton on Wednesday night.

Could there be more changes to come on deadline day Friday? We’ll find out soon enough. Until then, let’s hand out grades.

First Star

Mitch Marner


Game score did not favour Marner — or his linemates tonight — likely due to the amount of chances Calgary got against them while at five-on-five (shot attempts were 16-10 in favour of Calgary). However, Marner was dancing around a lot tonight, and scored the Leafs’ opening goal in the second, in impressive fashion — as Marner does.

This was one of those nights where the puck seemed to always be on Marner’s stick, and he was almost always doing something with it. He had eight shots on goal and seven individual shot attempts.

Marner was driving play in transition:

And making some great plays in the offensive zone:

Oh, and he came up with a critical defensive play in the third period:

I’m going with the eye test on this one, tonight.

Second Star

Luke Schenn

I was going to give Luke Schenn the first star just because it’s wild to see him back in Toronto, but Marner was too good to do that. However, I have no issue giving him a second star. Sometimes we can have fun in these report cards, and appreciating Schenn putting on a No. 2 Leafs jersey after 10 years out of the organization is fun! Even Marner was doing it.

“Watching him when I was growing up (and) he was just blowing guys up,” he said pregame. “Not much has changed so it’s good to have him on our side.”

Schenn looked good, albeit in limited minutes (10:42), in his first game back since April 7, 2012. In that time though, he blocked two shots and tied for the team lead in hits (four). Schenn brings a physical element to the blue line that the Leafs were missing. I’ll admit, the second star is a bit of the nostalgia factor winning over, but it’s also fun to think about Schenn crushing people in the playoffs. 

Also, he got the belt, so nobody can yell at me about this.

Third Star 

Joseph Woll

All Toronto needed Woll to do tonight was give them a chance to win. I know that sounds really corny, but it’s true, and he did just that.

I don’t blame him for the Blake Coleman goal against, plenty of goalies would have no chance on a clear breakaway like that. Otherwise he was sharp, and statistically perfect making 25 saves on 26 shots.

One thing I really liked about Woll’s game tonight, was that he did well to freeze pucks under pressure and not give the Flames too many second-chance opportunities. I recall that being a bit of an issue in a previous game he played this year, and he cleaned that area up tonight.

Player reports


Calle Jarnkrok

Jarnkrok gave the leafs the go-ahead goal with a nice play in tight to beat his childhood pal, Jacob Markstrom, in the third period. The hands, to pull the puck back and tuck it in with pressure behind him from Nikita Zadorov, were impressive. That gets him a solid grade in my books.


John Tavares 

Tavares didn’t get a point in this game, but he was still impactful in all three zones, and the faceoff circle with an 81 percent efficiency. And with the Leafs’ captain on the ice in all situations, the Flames only had 10 shot attempts. Only five of those attempts made it to the net.

Mark Giordano 

Giordano was looking young and fresh against his former team, particularly when he danced around Milan Lucic in the first period for a solid scoring chance. I know it’s Lucic, but Giordano is 39 years old!

With lots of new faces in the lineup, and some shuffling of the D pairs with seven guys in the lineup tonight, Giordano provided a steadying presence when he was on the ice.

Jake McCabe and TJ Brodie

There’s been a lot of talk about Jake McCabe and TJ Brodie being the new Leafs shutdown pair and while that’s true — they really didn’t allow many dangerous chances against, and were not on the ice for a goal against — let’s not forget that McCabe brings some decent offence to the table too. He has a solid release and put that on display with a few good offensive looks in this game. We know that it helps to ride shotgun with Brodie because you know he’ll be there for you if you decide to jump into the play, and I wonder how much offence that will unlock for McCabe. It’s early but there’s reason to be optimistic about with this duo.


William Nylander 

Nylander had a few moments where he appeared to be coasting and got beat by someone on the Flames, like the first period power play when Mikael Backlund blew by him for a short-handed chance. But, he also had moments where he was impossible to knock off the puck, like in the first when he drew a penalty on Rasmus Andersson.

And, he forced the turnover that led to what would be the game-winning goal from Jarnkrok.

Call it a bit of a mixed bag, but overall a much better night from Nylander.


Auston Matthews

Matthews needed a bounce back after the game in Edmonton last night, and I thought he did just that. He was skating hard, creating in transition and was getting to open spots in the offensive zone. His eight shots on goal was tied for the team lead with Marner, and his 10 individual unblocked shot attempts were the most by a single player in the game at five-on-five.

I know people want to see Matthews producing more on a consistent basis, but when the team is winning, and sitting fourth in the NHL standings — not to mention he’s still producing more than a point per game — it’s hard for me to be overly critical.


Ryan O’Reilly 

This was a bit of an odd game to evaluate O’Reilly because his linemates changed so frequently due to the 11 and seven configuration. And that’s not to say that he played poorly tonight either. He didn’t. But my biggest takeaway is that I’m still torn on where he fits best.

O’Reilly does so many good little things to gain and keep possession that he would work well between Tavares and Marner — who can put the puck in the net — or as the centrepiece of a killer matchup line. I guess his best fit depends if the Leafs want him producing in a top-six role, or freeing up the top six to go to work while he shuts down other teams’ top lines. Sheldon Keefe has time to figure that out, at least.

Noel Acciari and Sam Lafferty 

They didn’t play a lot (under 11 minutes each), but I enjoyed Acciari and Lafferty. They banged around — Acciari had five hits — and connected for nice passing on the Flames’ doorstep late in the game. Lafferty, by the way, made the stretch pass to spring Nylander for his second period breakaway, too.

The Leafs are still playing with their lineup and working to integrate new faces, but I’m intrigued about what these two will add to the bottom of the lineup in the stretch run and into the playoffs.

David Kämpf

Kämpf did his job tonight. The highlight? He was in on the forecheck that caved in — and tired out — Calgary’s fourth line in the second period that led to Marner’s goal. Kämpf specifically did well to win the battle on the wall, keep possession of the puck, get it to the top line and get off the ice. It’s nothing flashy, but it led to Marner dancing around a gassed group of skaters, and the Leafs’ first goal of the game.


Justin Holl

Holl made some bad plays in his own zone tonight. But he also saved a goal at a critical time in the game.


I’ll let everyone pick sides in the comments.

Morgan Rielly

Rielly wasn’t exactly great in his own zone tonight, but he had the primary assist on the game-winning goal. Critics might say that’s a typical Rielly game. Overall he was fine.


Alex Kerfoot

Kerfoot was moving his feet, and looked good in transition, but he cannot buy himself a goal sometimes. He had a wide open net in the second period, with the puck right in front of him, but Noah Hanifin flipped it away before he could get his stick on it.

He made a nice play in the third period to Marner as well, which Markstrom saved, but overall Kerfoot graded out pretty poorly by most metrics.

Michael Bunting

This was a pretty quiet night for Bunting. He established his presence on the doorstep on the Marner goal in the second period, and was active in the trenches, but he played more of a passenger role tonight.

Erik Gustafsson 

Not a great debut for Gustafsson. He mishandled the puck and failed to hold the line while running the second power-play unit early in the first period with Coleman coming right at him. Coleman, who was very good for Calgary tonight I might add, scored on a short-handed breakaway as a result.

It was his first game post-trade, so I’m not overly concerned.

Game Score

Final grade: B+

Considering this was the second night of a back-to-back against a solid defensively-structured Flames team, a 2-1 road win is probably as good as we were going to get tonight. The game was sloppy early, but the team made adjustments and improved throughout, with a strong third period finish. And while there are still some kinks to work out in this lineup, like who plays where, who sits and who gets in the lineup, there was a lot to like in this game. The duo of Brodie and McCabe looked excellent, and Woll was steady, which could be important if Matt Murray does not return soon.

What’s next for the Leafs?

Toronto heads to Vancouver on Saturday night for a Luke Schenn homecoming on Hockey Night in Canada at 7 p.m.

(Photo: Sergei Belski / USA Today)


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Maple Leafs clinch playoff berth with Panthers loss to Senators



The Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday.

The Maple Leafs (44-20-9), who clinched when the Florida Panthers lost 5-2 to the Ottawa Senators, are second in the Atlantic Division, 22 points behind the Boston Bruins and seven ahead of the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning.

It’s the seventh straight season Toronto has clinched a playoff berth. It hasn’t won a postseason series since 2004.

The Maple Leafs are led by forwards Mitchell Marner (94 points), William Nylander (81), Auston Matthews (77), and John Tavares (75). Ilya Samsonov is 24-9-3 with a 2.46 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and three shutouts in 36 games (35 starts). Matt Murray is 14-8-2 with a 2.97 GAA, .905 save percentage and one shutout in 25 games.


Toronto made several moves prior to the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline on March 3, acquiring forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 17, defenseman Jake McCabe and forward Sam Lafferty from the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 27, defenseman Erik Gustafsson from the Washington Capitals on Feb. 28 and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 28.

O’Reilly is expected back before the playoffs begin April 17. He hasn’t played since getting hit in the hand by Matthews’ shot in the second period of a 4-1 loss at the Vancouver Canucks on March 4 and was projected to be out four weeks.

The Maple Leafs have won the Stanley Cup 11 times, once each as the Toronto Arenas (1917-18) and the Toronto St. Patricks (1921-22). They are without an NHL championship since 1967.


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Canadian Bianca Andreescu retires from Miami Open match after suffering injury



Canadian Bianca Andreescu suffered an apparent leg injury during the second set of her match against Ekaterina Alexandrova at the Miami Open on Monday.

Andreescu was injured in the third game of the second set of the Round of 16 match while trying to run down a ball in the back court.  She remained down on the court, before receiving medical attention and leaving the court in a wheelchair.

Alexandrova won the first set of the match 7-6, Andreescu was up 2-0 in the second set when she retired from the match due to the injury.

The match was delayed for an hour by rain in the middle of the opening set.


The 22-year-old Canadian was playing well at the Miami tournament, entering play on Monday with victories over Emma Raducanu, No. 7 Maria Sakkari and Sofia Kenin earlier in the competition.


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Quick Reaction: Wizards 104, Raptors 114



O. Anunoby37 MIN, 29 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 11-21 FG, 4-10 3FG, 3-4 FT, 3 BLK, 1 TO, 18 +/-

From the opening tip OG was a force offensively and continued to flash the self creation signs that everyone wants to see, he had a career high 18 in the first quarter and hit a lot of tough jumpers off the bounce, as well as spaced the floor with catch and shoot triples.

P. Siakam34 MIN, 19 PTS, 11 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 7-17 FG, 1-3 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -3 +/-

Pretty poor game from Pascal by his standards, a lot of shots seemed forced and he couldn’t finish through contact, very well, his playmaking also was muted because he seemed to be hunting his own shot.

J. Poeltl26 MIN, 12 PTS, 12 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 6-9 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 7 +/-

Jakob’s floaters and push shots worked wonderfully tonight and he did a great job not rushing it like he does most games, offensive rebounding was also key as well, Jakob had 6 in this game which led to countless second chance points.

S. Barnes32 MIN, 13 PTS, 5 REB, 6 AST, 3 STL, 5-14 FG, 0-2 3FG, 3-3 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-


Solid game in his first game back from injury, hit some tough looks in the paint, passing looked good tonight as well, efficiency was a bit off but we can chalk that up to being rusty.

F. VanVleet36 MIN, 28 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST, 3 STL, 10-21 FG, 5-9 3FG, 3-3 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 11 +/-

Offensive masterclass from Fred VanVleet, he was zooming all over the floor and he was really burning Washington with his outside shooting, but his playmaking shined really bright tonight as well.

W. Barton04 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Left the game early with an injury.

C. Boucher22 MIN, 6 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

Boucher was battling on the class yet again and often gave Toronto an extra look tonight, he also was solid as a rim protector as well.

J. Dowtin Jr.19 MIN, 3 PTS, 2 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 14 +/-

Didn’t add a whole lot offensively but he was harassing guys on ball as a defender, and moving the rock well as well, would like to see Dowtin look for his own a bit more often

C. Koloko15 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 3 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-

Koloko entered the game by recording a steal and then a block on back to back possessions, and then he continued to play solid defense in drop coverage, really strong game for the rook.

M. Flynn07 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -10 +/-

Didn’t take advantage of his looks on the floor tonight.

P. Achiuwa06 MIN, 2 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -10 +/-

Another rough night for Precious as he tries to regain his footing, just couldn’t find it defensively, ran the floor in transition just fine during limited time.

Nick Nurse

Although Toronto was healthier, Nurse didn’t force anyone into minutes that were going to damage the team.

Things We Saw

  1. OG Anunoby flashed creation skills once again, in the face up game he burned Washington many times and he even hit a pull up three.
  2. Christian Koloko played some pretty nice defense, his technique in drop was really good tonight.

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