Rockets’ James Harden Throws Shade at Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo — NESN.com

Today’s NBA has drawn criticism from older generations for a lack of heated rivalries. Now, players form close friendships with other guys in the league, so it’s rare to see players really go at it with one another with genuine hatred fueling competition. There might still be a place for that with James Harden and…

Rockets’ James Harden Throws Shade at Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo — NESN.com

Tyson Barrie suddenly feels like Maple Leafs’ old man — Toronto Sun

SUNRISE, Fla. — Tyson Barrie doesn’t have Jake Muzzin’s lengthy beard and doesn’t wear Morgan Rielly’s alternate A. But before Thursday night’s game, he was being viewed as a steadying veteran influence on a Toronto defence based on his 569 NHL games. “I probably have more games than the rest of them combined,” Barrie said. […]

Tyson Barrie suddenly feels like Maple Leafs’ old man — Toronto Sun

Joe Thornton wants to remain in San Jose past this season: “I’m a Shark” — Oroville Mercury-Register

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton said he fully intends to resign with the team in the offseason and come back in the fall.

Joe Thornton wants to remain in San Jose past this season: “I’m a Shark” — Oroville Mercury-Register

Members of Congress urge Curt Flood’s election to the Hall of Fame — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

“Flood sacrificed his own career so players after him could have free agency, leaving one of the biggest impacts on the game to this day.”

Members of Congress urge Curt Flood’s election to the Hall of Fame — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

Purple & Bold: No knocking Anthony Davis’ hustle — Press Telegram

Editor’s note: This is the Friday, Feb. 28 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here. Without LeBron James and with an almost too-easy task in front of them, the Lakers woke up after halftime Thursday, knuckling down on defense and hitting the Warriors with…

Purple & Bold: No knocking Anthony Davis’ hustle — Press Telegram

LeBron-less Lakers knock out Warriors with robust third quarter — Press Telegram

The Lakers’ Anthony Davis dribbles the ball during Thursday’s game against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center in San Francisco. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) dribbles the ball up the court against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San…

LeBron-less Lakers knock out Warriors with robust third quarter — Press Telegram

Lakers working to blend Markieff Morris into mix — Daily News

SAN FRANCISCO — He plays tough on the court. Markieff Morris’ game is elbows and hard shoulders. But off the court is when his competitive persona recedes. This is his fifth team in his NBA career, and he thinks he has a pretty good handle on how to fit into a locker room. “I’ve known…

Lakers working to blend Markieff Morris into mix — Daily News

Powell set to make another return … Proximity of return and Bryant life celebration kept Powell from going to LA … Gasol improving but not ready yet — Toronto Sun

Don’t look now, but Norm Powell is on his way back one more time. The hard-luck shooting guard is coming off his second injury absence, this one courtesy of a broken bone in his left hand. The first injury was a left shoulder injury. Combined, the two injuries have cost him 17 games of his […]

Powell set to make another return … Proximity of return and Bryant life celebration kept Powell from going to LA … Gasol improving but not ready yet — Toronto Sun

HORNETS AT RAPTORS PREGAME NOTES: Serge Ibaka (knee) and Fred VanVleet (shoulder) are out. Norman Powell (finger) is listed as probable. … The Raptors lead the NBA in fast-break points per game (19.1). Toronto has outscored its opponent on the fast-break in each of the past 12 games (Jan. 28 – Feb. 25). The Raptors are a +165 (292-to-127) in fast-break scoring differential during this streak.

INJURY REPORTS AT 5:30 P.M. FRIDAY

Charlotte Hornets Bacon, Dwayne Out G League – On Assignment
Monk, Malik Out League Suspension
Simmons, Kobi Out G League – Two-Way
Spalding, Ray Out G League – Two-Way
Toronto Raptors Gasol, Marc Out Injury/Illness – Left Hamstring; Tightness
Ibaka, Serge Out Injury/Illness – Right Knee; Soreness
McCaw, Patrick Available Injury/Illness – Illness; Flu-like symptoms
Powell, Norman Probable Injury/Illness – Left Finger; Fourth; metacarpal – fracture
VanVleet, Fred Out Injury/Illness – Left Shoulder; Pain
Watson, Paul Available –

RAPTORS NOTES

• The Toronto Raptors conclude their four-game homestand (Feb. 21-28) Friday night when they host the Charlotte Hornets at Scotiabank Arena. Toronto has won seven of the last nine meetings against Charlotte, including both games this season. Serge Ibaka is averaging 23.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in two games vs. the Hornets this year. The Raptors begin a five-game west coast road trip (Mar. 1-9) Sunday at Denver.

• The Raptors lost for just the second time in their last 19 games Tuesday against Milwaukee. Over the last 19 contests, Toronto is averaging 118.5 points, while shooting .491 (827-1686) from the field, including .393 (281-715) from behind the arc. The Raptors have held opponents to 107.9 points per game and a .431 (715-1658) field goal percentage during this stretch.

• Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 22 points Tuesday night vs. the Bucks. Siakam has now scored 20+ points in five of his last six games (Feb. 8-25). He is averaging 25.0 points and 6.8 rebounds, while shooting .524 (55-105) from the field, during this span.

• The Raptors lead the NBA in fast-break points per game (19.1). Toronto has outscored its opponent on the fast-break in each of the last 12 games (Jan. 28 – Feb. 25). The Raptors are a +165 (292-to-127) in fast-break scoring differential during this streak.

• Villanova retired the No. 1 jersey of six-time NBA All-Star and USA Basketball Olympic gold medalist Kyle Lowry on Wednesday night. Lowry played two seasons for current head coach Jay Wright (2004-06), helping the Wildcats make consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament.

• The Raptors held Milwaukee to .381 shooting from the field (32-for-84) Tuesday night. It was the 17th time Toronto has held its opponent below 40 per cent shooting from the floor this season. The Raptors currently ranks second in the NBA with a .426 opponent field goal percentage, behind only Milwaukee (.412).

• Terence Davis scored in double figures off the bench for the third straight game with 10 points in 17 minutes Tuesday against Milwaukee. He is averaging 12.3 points over the last three games. Davis has now logged 1,019 minutes this season and is just the fourth undrafted rookie to play at least 1,000 minutes in a season for Toronto; along with Jose Calderon (1,487 in 2005–06), Jorge Garbajosa (1,909 in 2006– 07) and Jamario Moon (2,166 in 2007–08).

• Toronto is 42-16 this season, matching the best record after 58 games in franchise history set last season. The Raptors have won at least 51 games each of the last four seasons after not reaching 50 wins in any of their first 20 seasons in the NBA.

• The Raptors currently lead the NBA in opponent three-point percentage (.335). Toronto’s opponent has now missed at least 20 three-point attempts in each of the last 27 games. It’s the longest streak in the NBA of an opponent missing 20 or more shots from behind the arc since the three-point era began in 1979–80.

• Pascal Siakam is averaging career highs of 23.7 points and 7.5 rebounds through 47 games this season. Only two players in Raptors history have finished a season averaging at least 23.0 points and 7.0 rebounds: Chris Bosh in 2009–10 (24.0, 10.8) and Kawhi Leonard in 2018–19 (26.6, 7.3). PROBABLE STARTERS

G – OG ANUNOBY #3

MIN: 29.3 REB: 5.4 AST: 1.6 STL: 1.2 TO: 1.2 BLK: 0.7 PTS: 10.2

• Totaled 11 points, five rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes Feb. 25 vs. Milwaukee. • Toronto is 22-5 this season when Anunoby scores 10 or more points. • Averaging a career-high 10.2 points and shooting a career-best .499 from the field this season.

F – PASCAL SIAKAM #43

MIN: 35.0 REB: 7.5 AST: 3.4 STL: 0.9 TO: 2.4 BLK: 0.9 PTS: 23.7

• Posted a team-high 22 points along with six rebounds and three assists Feb. 25 vs. Milwaukee. • Ranks 16th in the NBA in scoring (23.7); has scored 20 or more in five of the last six games (Feb. 8-25). • Has scored 30+ points 14 times; had five 30-point performances in 80 games played last season.

C – SERGE IBAKA #9

MIN: 27.1 REB: 8.0 AST: 1.3 STL: 0.5 TO: 2.0 BLK: 0.8 PTS: 15.9

• Finished with five points and five rebounds in 29 minutes of action Feb. 25 vs. Milwaukee. • Averaging 18.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 31.2 minutes in 24 games as a starter this season. • First player in NBA history with 500+ three-point field goals and 1,500+ blocks.

G – KYLE LOWRY #7

MIN: 36.4 REB: 4.8 AST: 7.7 STL: 1.3 TO: 3.0 BLK: 0.4 PTS: 19.2

• Scored 10 points and led the team with six assists in 41 minutes Feb. 25 vs. Milwaukee. • Passed Morris Peterson (542) for second on the Raptors’ all-time games played list against the Bucks. • Ranks seventh in the NBA in assists per game (7.7); has dished out 10+ assists 13 times.

G – FRED VANVLEET #23

MIN: 35.8 REB: 3.8 AST: 6.6 STL: 1.9 TO: 2.3 BLK: 0.3 PTS: 17.6

• Recorded 14 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 37 minutes Feb. 25 vs. Milwaukee. • Ranks fourth in the NBA in steals per game (1.90); has registered multiple steals in 24 games. • Leads the team in total three-point field goals made (131) and steals (91).



INJURY REPORT Marc Gasol (Left hamstring; tightness) – Out Dewan Hernandez (Right ankle; sprain) – Out Serge Ibaka (Right knee soreness) – Questionable Patrick McCaw (Flu-like symptoms) Probable Norman Powell (Left hand; fourth metacarpal – fracture) – Questionable


NEXT GAME DETAILS Opponent: Charlotte Hornets Date: Friday, February 28 Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. (ET) Venue: Scotiabank Arena Television: Sportsnet One Radio: TSN 1050 Toronto

SERIES RECAP VS. CHARLOTTE

OVERALL HOME ROAD 2019-20 2-0 1-0 1-0 ALL-TIME

38-44 24-18 14-26 STREAKS Won 2 Won 1 Won 1

LAST WIN: January 8, 2020 (112-110 OT)

LAST HOME WIN: November 18, 2019 (132-96)

LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY: +36, November 18, 2019

LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT: -36, November 20, 2000

LAST TIME VS. CHARLOTTE

GAME 38 – JANUARY 8, 2020 TORONTO 112, CHARLOTTE 110

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Serge Ibaka made two free throws with 5.1 seconds left in overtime and finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds as the banged-up Toronto Raptors escaped with a 112-110 overtime win over Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night… Terence Davis also had 23 points and 11 boards, OG Anunoby added 19 points and Kyle Lowry had 15 points and nine assists… Patrick McCaw added 13 points and 11 assists as the Raptors avoided taking losses on back-to-back nights for the first time since Dec. 26-27, 2017… Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 27 points, but his 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime fell short… Miles Bridges added 26 points and nine rebounds for Charlotte, and P.J. Washington had 12 points and 12 rebounds… After leading by as many as 12 in the third quarter, the Raptors fell behind by 10 in the fourth quarter when Rozier hit a long 3 from the left wing with 5:25 remaining… The Raptors battled back to take the lead 100-99 with 17 seconds left when Lowry drove the lane and scored on a left-handed layup in traffic… On the Hornets’ ensuing inbounds pass, Ibaka was called for a foul away from the ball after grabbing Washington’s jersey… Rozier sank the automatic free throw to tie it, but Devonte Graham’s runner at the buzzer was short, sending the game into overtime… Davis, making his first NBA start, had two 3-pointers in overtime for the Raptors.

1 2 3 4 OT TOT

TORONTO 29 31 22 18 12 112

CHARLOTTE 31 24 26 19 10 110

NEXT GAME DETAILS Opponent: Denver Nuggets Date: Sunday, March 1 Tip-Off: 6 p.m. (ET) Venue: Pepsi Center Television: Sportsnet One Radio: Sportsnet 590 The FAN

SERIES RECAP VS. DENVER

OVERALL HOME ROAD 2018-19 0-2 0-1 0-1 ALL-TIME 18-28 11-12 7-16 STREAKS Lost 2 Lost 1 Lost 2

LAST WIN: March 27, 2018 (114-110)

LAST ROAD WIN: November 18, 2016 (113-111 OT)

LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY: +27, March 23, 2007

LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT: -39, December 2, 2008
LAST TIME VS. DENVER

GAME 25 – DECEMBER 3, 2018 DENVER 106, TORONTO 103

TORONTO — Nikola Jokic got his second triple-double of the season to help the injury-riddled Denver Nuggets overcome another key absence … Jokic capped a big night with three free throws in the final seven seconds, Kyle Lowry missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Nuggets survived the loss of leading scorer Gary Harris to beat the Toronto Raptors 106-103 … Jokic made it 104-103 with a free throw with 7.0 seconds left, then hit two more foul shots with 5.6 seconds remaining before Lowry bounced a 26footer off the rim … Jokic had 23 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds, Jamal Murray scored 21 points, and Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez each scored 15 points for Denver … The Nuggets won their sixth straight and halted Toronto’s winning streak at eight … Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, Serge Ibaka had 15 and Pascal Siakam 14 for the Raptors … Kyle Lowry had 11 assists … Harris scored three points in the opening quarter but did not play after the first because of a sore right hip … The Nuggets led 86-78 to begin the fourth, but Toronto tied it at 94 on Ibaka’s dunk at 4:41 … Jokic had seven assists in the first quarter.

1 2 3 4 TOT

DENVER 27 32 27 20 106

TORONTO 24 23 31 25 103

GAME 58 – FEBRUARY 25, 2020 MILWAUKEE 108 , TORONTO 97

TORONTO — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 19 points and 19 rebounds, Khris Middleton scored 22 points and the Bucks beat the Raptors 108-97 on Tuesday night in a matchup between the top teams in the Eastern Conference … Eric Bledsoe scored 17 points and Brook Lopez had 15 as the NBA-leading Bucks won their fourth straight and 18th of 20 … Milwaukee (50-8) was playing the second game of a back-to-back after winning in overtime at Washington Monday … Behind by 12 points late in the second quarter, the Bucks rallied to beat the Raptors in their first game in Toronto since losing Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals last May, completing a disappointing collapse after winning the first two games of that series at home … Antetokounmpo finished with eight assists, narrowly missing a triple-double … Pascal Siakam scored 22 points and Fred VanVleet had 14 as the defending NBA champion Raptors lost for the second time in 19 games … Toronto trailed 84-71 to begin the fourth, but Terence Davis scored five points as the Raptors closed the gap with a 7-0 spurt over the first 90 seconds of the final quarter … VanVleet’s four-point play with 2:23 left cut it to 101-94, and the Raptors forced a steal on Milwaukee’s next possession but VanVleet missed a 3 … Antetokounmpo hit a 3 at the other end, restoring the double-digit advantage.

1 2 3 4 TOT

MILWAUKEE 25 25 34 24 108

TORONTO 27 25 19 26 97


GAME 57 – FEBRUARY 23, 2020 TORONTO 127 , INDIANA 81

TORONTO — Kyle Lowry had 16 points and 11 assists as the Toronto Raptors beat the Indiana Pacers 127-81 in Toronto’s most lopsided victory in franchise history … Lowry stretched his career-best streak of consecutive double-doubles to six games in the Raptors’ ninth straight victory at Scotiabank Arena … It was also the Raptors’ 17th win in their last 18 outings … Pascal Siakam added 21 points while Serge Ibaka chipped in with 15 points and 15 rebounds … Matt Thomas finished with 17 points, Terence Davis had 13, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 12, and Chris Boucher hauled down 11 rebounds to go with nine points for Toronto … Domantas Sabonis and Aaron Holiday had 14 points apiece to top the Pacers, who were missing Victor Oladipo … The Raptors held the Pacers to four baskets on 17.4 per cent shooting in the first quarter … By the time Fred VanVleet launched a running three-pointer with four seconds left in the first half, the Raptors were up by 31 points … The Pacers’ 32 points at halftime were a season-low for a half by an opponent … Toronto took an 85-55 lead into the fourth, and when Hollis-Jefferson connected on a bucket with 8:19 to play, the Raptors were up by 40 … Back-to-back three -pointers by Thomas put the Raptors up by 46 points with 2:17 to play … Toronto shot 51.1 per cent on the night, while holding Indiana to 32.6 per cent and 24.2 per cent from three-point range.

1 2 3 4 TOT

INDIANA 12 20 23 26 81

TORONTO 34 29 22 42 127

CHARLOTTE HORNETS (20-38 vs. TORONTO RAPTORS (42-16) GAME #59 – ROAD GAME #32 February 28, 2020 – 7:30 p.m. (ET) Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, ON TV: Fox Sports Southeast: WFNZ – 102.5 FM / 610 AM

Record Overall Home Road Overtime Overall

20-38 9-18 11-20 1-1

Eastern 14-22 8-11 6-11 1-0

Western 6-16 1-7 5-9 0-1



PROBABLE STARTERS 2019-20 STATS BUZZWORTHY

0 MILES BRIDGES F • 6-6 • 225 • Michigan State PPG • 13.2 RPG • 5.5 APG • 1.7 • Drafted 12th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft • Scored a career-high 31 points along with a career-high 13 rebounds at WAS on 11/22 • Has scored 20-or-more points in six games since January 1, 2020


25 PJ WASHINGTON F • 6-7 • 236 • Kentucky PPG • 11.8 RPG • 5.4 APG • 2.1 • Scored a franchise-record 27 points in his NBA debut on 10/23 • Made an NBA-record seven threes in his first career game • Drafted 12th overall in the 2019 NBA draft

40 CODY ZELLER C • 6-11 • 240 • Indiana PPG • 11.1 RPG • 7.1 APG • 1.5 • Averaging a career-high 11.1 points and a careerhigh 7.1 rebounds per game • Recorded a double-double in each of his first four appearances this season – the first Charlotte player to do so since Okafor (05-06)

4 DEVONTE’ GRAHAM G • 6-1 • 195 • Kansas PPG • 17.6 RPG • 3.5 APG • 7.6 • Recorded a career-high 40 points at BKN on 12/11 • Averaging a career-high 7.6 assists per game, tied for 7th among all players in the NBA this season.


3 TERRY ROZIER G • 6-1 • 195 • Louisville PPG • 17.5 RPG • 4.5 APG • 4.1 • Acquired by the Hornets on July 6, 2019 • Spent first four seasons with the Boston Celtics • Averaging career highs in points, assists, steals, threes per game.

Charlotte vs. Toronto – Connections Hornets F/C Cody Zeller and Raptors F OG Anunoby both played college basketball at Indiana…Hornets C Bismack Biyombo played in Toronto in the 2015-16 season…Hornets C Willy Hernangomez and C Marc Gasol are teammates on the Spanish National Team, most recently competing together in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

STARS ON THE RISE – PLAYER DEVELOPMENT On Friday, Feb. 14 Miles Bridges, Devonte’ Graham and PJ Washington represented Team USA in the 2020 NBA Rising Stars game, with Miles Bridges earning game MVP honors (20 points, five rebounds, five assists). The game is made up of the best first-and-second-year players as part of the 2020 NBA All-Star weekend. Charlotte and Memphis are the only two teams to have three players in the contest. This is the first time in franchise history the Hornets have had three players selected to the event.

HIVE HUSTLE – COMPETE AT A HIGH LEVEL Cody Martin and Devonte’ Graham have each drawn 12 charges this season, tied for tenth-most in the league this season. The Hornets are one of just two teams in the NBA to have two players rank in the top-ten of charges drawn (Washington: Wagner, Beal).

BACKCOURT BUZZING – ESTABLISH AN IDENTITY In Charlotte’s home win against the Knicks (2/26), Terry Rozier scored a game-high 26 points and Devonte’ Graham added 21 points, the eighth game this season both guards have scored 20+ in the same game. In the Hornets’ 2/8 loss to Dallas, Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier each made 3 threes, the 17th time this season both guards have made 3+ threes in the same game. In the Hornets’ 1/13 loss to the Blazers, the Hornets starting backcourt (Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier) combined for 52 points, the ninth time this season that the backcourt duo has combined for 50-ormore points. Graham (192) and Rozier (148) are one of five pairs of teammates in the NBA to each have 140+ made threes (Lillard/McCollum – POR, Harden/McLemore – HOU, Walker/Tatum – BOS, Mitchell/Bogdanovic – UTA).

CLUTCH IN CLUTCH TIME – COMPETE AT A HIGH LEVEL The Hornets have a 15-13 record in clutch time this season, tied for 11th most clutch wins in the league. Charlotte has an offensive rating of 120.1 (ranking third), a defensive rating of 105.4 (ranking 13th) and a net rating of 14.6 (ranking seventh) in clutch time. The Hornets are shooting 49.2% from the field in clutch time, ranking second in the league and shooting a league-leading 44.9% from three in clutch time. Charlotte averages 1.6 assists in the clutch, fifth most in the NBA and has an assist ratio of 14.7, good for fourth in the NBA.

LONG DISTANCE BUZZ – ESTABLISH AN IDENTITY In Charlotte’s win over New York (2/26), the Hornets made 10 threes collectively. This is the 42nd game this season that the Hornets have made 10+ threes in a game, the fifth most such games in a season in franchise history. The 2018-19 Hornets hold the franchise record with 60 games.

SHARING IS CARING – ESTABLISH AN IDENTITY Through 58 games the Hornets are averaging 305.4 passes per game, good for sixth most in the NBA this season. 63.7% of all Hornets baskets have been assisted thus far this season, fourth in the league. In Charlotte’s loss to San Antonio (2/1) the Hornets recorded 29 assists on 35 field goals, good for an assist-percentage of 82.8. In the Hornets loss to Denver (1/15) Charlotte made 33 field goals with 28 assists. The mark of 84.8% of field goals assisted is the team’s highest since 2/11/14 and is the fifth-highest assist percentage in a game this season.

WALK THE LINE – BUILDING WINNING HABITS Through 58 games the Hornets’ opponents are allowing just 21.6 free throws, the seventh-lowest free throw attempts in the NBA to this point. Charlotte’s opponents average 18.2 free-throw attempts per game, the fewest in the league this season.

CLOSING OUT CLOSE GAMES – BUILDING WINNING HABITS The Hornets are tied for the league lead with eight wins in one-possession games this season. Charlotte also has 10 come-from-behind wins this season after trailing by double-digits, tied for the seventh most in the league this season per Elias.

GOOD SHOT SELECTION – ESTABLISH AN IDENTITY The Hornets are striving for a style of play built around taking shots at the rim and knocking down three-point field goals. Charlotte ranks 5th in the NBA in percentage of shots taken at the rim (38.3%) and 9th in the NBA in percentage of shots taken from the three-point line (37.2%), meaning the team is taking the fifth-fewest mid-range shots in the NBA (24.5%).

MAPLE LEAFS 5, PANTHERS 3 — WHAT THEY SAID: “I think we just tried to stay resilient. Obviously, you get down early in the first, I think you just try to keep your composure and go out there and take it one shift at a time and just claw our way back. Obviously, it came down to the wire.” — AUSTON MATTHEWS.

HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE

On Kapanen providing a spark in the first period:

I thought – despite the score, we didn’t hate our start. I thought we had good legs, we had the puck a fair bit, we had some stuff happening in their end. They got the lead on us, obviously, but I just liked how our team wasn’t fazed by it, we were just talking on the bench that there was a lot of game left and we’ve got to stay with it. We were confident we’d get our chances throughout the game and we did. It started with the power play goal – I don’t think it registered as a power play goal, but it is in my eyes and Kappy finished it. I’m starting to lose track of how many games in a row now for Kappy, but he’s playing at a different level for us right now. It’s making a difference.

On tonight’s performance as the type of team defence he wants to see:

I thought so, especially once we settled into the game. In the early going, especially with the seventh defenceman, we were trying to find the right mix and what the mix is going to be and how it’s going to flow. I think when you go with the seven defence like that you just sort of let it evolve. You can’t make too much of a plan, you’ve just got to kind of see. I think it took a little bit of time for that to settle and that helped our team once we did settle it down. The big thing I’ll take away from the game, of course, is just how we didn’t fold. The last time we came in here the game got away on us and today we didn’t let it happen.

On if Kapanen’s recent play is related to being disciplined by the team earlier in the season:

No, I don’t. I think it’s more in response to him recognizing what’s happening in the season and how important it is and how important the games are. He, like a lot of the guys on our team, haven’t been happy with their play or our play as a team. We’ve asked everybody just to give us a little bit more. He’s given us lots.

On the play of Holl and Dermott:

They did an excellent job. Today, they’re matched up against the Barkov line and, I mean, it’s the entire group doing a job against them, but I think that line ends up off the scoresheet and is minus-2 on the night. That was our greatest challenge going into the game, is how we were going to manage players of that level with the defencemen that we were missing, and those guys did an excellent job. Our whole team did. The Matthews line did too good of a job against them from their perspective, so they had to change the matchup and they got away from it and they mixed it up and got Matthews away from them. The other guys we had playing against them, whoever it was, just went out and did the job. Collectively we played well against those guys, I thought. Dermott and Holl dug in. Certainly Tyson Barrie battled hard and did a lot of good things for us today. He’s been doing what we needed him to do.

On if Holl’s empty net goal is a ‘feel-good moment’:

Yeah, it is. For sure. You’re just happy it gets out, first of all. You get a little bit of breathing room. You don’t really think – just the way it leaves his stick – that it’s going to go in and then you see it curve. It’s funny, those empty nets goals work in funny ways. You can get rewarded and I think sometimes the luck just seems to go for you. Deserved for [Holl].

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (23 SAVES)

On what the turning point of tonight’s game was:

I think [Kapanen] had a nice fight and we really responded to that first period. I think the guys came out and played really hard for me. Got that deficit back and huge credit to them. They played a great game.

On the play of the defence:

I think especially in the second and third period they were unbelievable. Even in the first as well, they didn’t really panic or anything once they got their lead and we just kind of kept going. Huge credit to the guys for evening it up that quick.

AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On tonight’s come-from-behind win:

I think we just tried to stay resilient. Obviously, you get down early in the first, I think you just try to keep your composure and go out there and take it one shift at a time and just claw our way back. Obviously, it came down to the wire.

On what led to his line playing well:

I think we were just taking care of the puck. We were forechecking a little harder. They hold the line well so you’ve kind of got to put the puck in behind them and try and go get it so I thought we did a pretty good job with that. We didn’t force too many pucks. We just worked hard out there and created chances and obviously we were able to capitalize on a couple.

WILLIAM NYLANDER (1 GOAL)

On what led to the Maple Leafs taking over the game in the second period:

I think we got them, they had the far change there, and we were able to – once they got it out – just go right back in the O-zone and spend some heavy shifts in the O-zone, which was good.

On Kapanen’s fight:

When you see that it obviously fires you up and gets you going. It’s great. He’s been able to add a little bit extra to the team, which is great.

On how important it was to spend time in Florida’s end to take pressure of the Maple Leafs defence:

I think our D have been playing great, but obviously it’s great to spend time in the O-zone. I think that’s where we kept their best players out of our D-zone, which helped us a lot.

MAPLE LEAFS 5, PANTHERS 3 POST GAME NOTES: William Nylander scored the fourth Toronto goal of the game at 9:00 of the third period. Nylander has points (3-3-6) in five consecutive games. His third-period goal stood as the game-winning goal, giving him his team-leading seventh game-winner of the season — tied for the fifth-most game-winning goals in the NHL. In 32 games on the road this season, he has recorded 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists).

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (34-23-8 – 76 Points) vs.

FLORIDA PANTHERS (33-25-6 – 72 Points)

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2020

 123OTFINAL
TORONTO3025
FLORIDA3003

GAME SUMMARY         |           EVENT SUMMARY        |           FACEOFF SUMMARY


ON THE SCORESHEET

  • Zach Hyman put the Maple Leafs on the board at 3:32 of the first period and later had the primary assist on Auston Matthews’ first period goal. Hyman’s first period goal was his 20th of the season, marking the second consecutive season he has reached the 20-goal mark. Tonight’s game is his eighth multi-point game of the season. He has six points (2-4-6) in three games against the Panthers in 2019-20. His 13 career points (5-8-13) in 17 career games against Florida is his highest point total against a single opponent.
  • Kasperi Kapanen scored the secondary Toronto goal of the game at 17:43 of the first period. Kapanen has four points (2-2-4) over his last four games played. He has three points (1-2-3) in three games against the Panthers this season. He has recorded 21 (nine goals, 12 assists) of his 36 points on the road in 2019-20.
  • Auston Matthews registered the primary assist on Hyman’s first period goal before adding the third Maple Leafs goal of the night at 18:58 of the first period. Matthews has points (1-2-3) in two consecutive games. He has recorded 22 points (13 goals, nine assists) in 21 games against Atlantic Division teams in 2019-20.
  • William Nylander scored the fourth Toronto goal of the game at 9:00 of the third period. Nylander has points (3-3-6) in five consecutive games. His third period goal stood as the game-winning goal in tonight’s game giving him his team-leading seventh game-winner of the season, which is tied for the fifth-most game-winning goals in the NHL. In 32 games on the road this season, he has recorded 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists).
  • Justin Holl picked up the secondary assist on Hyman’s first period goal and later scored the fifth Maple Leafs goal into an open net at 19:39 of the third period. Tonight’s game is his second multi-point performance of 2019-20. He has two assists over his last four games. He has recorded 10 of his 16 assists and 12 (2-10-12) of his 17 points on the road this season.
  • Jason Spezza recorded the primary assist on Kapanen’s first period goal. Spezza has assists (2) in two consecutive games and has collected four assists over his last six games. He has registered 17 (5-12-17) of his 24 points on the road this season.
  • Alex Kerfoot picked up the secondary assist on Kapanen’s first period goal. Kerfoot has three points (1-2-3) over his last four games. He has recorded 12 of his 19 assists on the road this season. In 18 games against Atlantic Division teams, Kerfoot has recorded 11 points (4-7-11).
  • Mitch Marner had the secondary assist on Matthews’ first period goal. Marner has assists (2) in two consecutive games. He has five points (2-3-5) in three games against the Panthers this season. He has recorded 13 points (2-11-13) in 14 games during the month of February.
  • Kyle Clifford recorded the primary assist on Nylander’s third period goal. Clifford has recorded all three of his points (1-2-3) as a Maple Leaf on the road since being acquired by Toronto. The assist is his 10th of the season, which ties his single-season career high set in 2018-19.
  • Martin Marincin collected the secondary assist on Nylander’s third period goal. Marincin has two assists over his last four games played.
  • Frederik Andersen stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced to earn his 27th win of the season.

SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
TORONTO9 (6)14 (11)6 (5)29 (22)
FLORIDA9 (8)4 (4)14 (9)27 (21)
      

SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
TORONTO16 (12)22 (18)16 (14)54 (44)
FLORIDA18 (16)9 (9)26 (20)53 (45)

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Record on the Road18-14-1 (33 Games)
All-Time Record vs. Florida 44-35-7-5 (91 Games)
All-Time Record vs. Florida on the Road19-19-5-4 (47 Games)
Record vs. Eastern Conference19-15-6 (40 Games)
Record vs. Atlantic Division11-8-2 (21 Games)

MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS

Shots(Matthews)
Shot Attempts11 (Matthews)
Faceoff Wins10 (Matthews)
Faceoff Win Percentage100% (Engvall – 1 won, 0 lost)
Hits3 (Marincin)
Blocked Shots(Barrie, Marincin)
Takeaways(Matthews)
TOI25:00 (Barrie)
Power Play TOI1:19 (Five players tied)
Shorthanded TOI2:00 (Dermott, Holl)
Shifts27 (Barrie)
5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage71.4% (Sandin – 15 for, 6 against)
  

RECORD WHEN…

Opponent scores first12-18-6
Tied after 115-6-4
Tied after 27-5-2
Do not score a power play goal14-14-4
Do not allow a power play goal20-8-4
Outshooting opponent18-9-3
Thursday5-3-1

OF NOTE…

  • The Maple Leafs went 1-for-1 on the penalty kill and 0-for-1 on the power play tonight.
  • Zach Hyman was on the ice for a team-high 22 shot attempts at 5-on-5 tonight. Hyman finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 50.0 (22 for, 22 against).
  • Kasperi Kapanen did not start a 5-on-5 shift in the offensive zone.
  • Auston Matthews won 71 percent (5 won, 2 lost) of his faceoffs when matched up against Florida forward Noel Acciari.
  • Calle Rosen skated in his first game with the Maple Leafs since being reacquired by the club in a trade with Colorado on February 24.

UPCOMING GAMES:

  • Saturday, February 29, 7:00 p.m. vs. Vancouver Canucks (Sportsnet, TSN 1050)
  • Tuesday, March 3, 10:30 p.m. at San Jose Sharks (Sportsnet Ontario, FAN 590)
  • Thursday, March 5, 10:30 p.m. at Los Angeles Kings (Sportsnet Ontario, TSN 1050
  • Friday, March 6, 10:00 p.m. at Anaheim Ducks (TSN4, TSN 1050)
  • Tuesday, March 10, 7:00 p.m. vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (TSN4, TSN 1050)