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Khem Birch will start in Anunoby’s place, with Thad Young playing a key role off the bench. Nurse said Young has picked things up quickly (“you can tell he’s been around”) and will be “vitally important” with OG out (with a broken finger).
GAME #58 – TORONTO RAPTORS (32-25) at CHARLOTTE HORNETS (29-31)
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2022 – 7 P.M. (ET) – SPECTRUM CENTER
TV: TSN – RADIO: SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN
The Toronto Raptors (32-25) begin a three-game road trip Friday night against the Charlotte Hornets (29-
31) at Spectrum Center. The Raptors start the second half of the season at 32-25, having already surpassed their win total from last season of 27 victories. Tonight marks the third and final regular season
meeting between these two teams, with Toronto winning the first two. Gary Trent Jr. is averaging a team-high 28.0 points against the Hornets this year.
• The Raptors defeated Minnesota 103-91 in their final game before the All-Star break, and have now won
nine of their last 11 games (Jan. 29 – Feb. 16). During this stretch, the Raptors are shooting .464 (469-
1011) from the field and .398 (148-372) from three-point range. Toronto is +22 (137-to-115) on the offensive glass over the last 11 and currently ranks second (13.1) in the NBA in offensive boards per game.
• Gary Trent Jr. scored a team-high 30 points and added four rebounds and two assists Feb. 16 at Minnesota. Trent Jr. has now tallied 30+ points with five-or-more made three-pointers eight times this season,
just one shy of Pascal Siakam’s single-season franchise record of nine games set during the 2019-2020
campaign. Trent Jr. (8), Fred VanVleet (8), Pascal Siakam (7) and OG Anunoby (1) have all scored 30+
points this season – the Raptors are 19-4 in games when they have at least one player score 30-or-more.
• Fred VanVleet has scored 20+ points in a career-high seven straight games played (Feb. 1-14), averaging
22.0 points and shooting .457 (32-70) from three-point range during this span. He sat out Feb. 10 at Houston with left groin soreness and Feb. 16 at Minnesota with a right knee contusion. VanVleet has made
201 threes this season – third most in a season in Raptors history; behind only Kyle Lowry (238 in 2017-
18 & 212 in 2015-16). VanVleet has connected on 5+ threes in a franchise record 18 games this season.
• Pascal Siakam is currently averaging 21.9 points, and career highs of 8.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists, in 44
games this season. He is one of just five players in the NBA averaging 20.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.0
assists, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, James Harden, and Nikola Jokic. No Raptor has
averaged 20-8-5 for an entire season.
• Rookie Scottie Barnes reached 700 career points Feb. 16 at Minnesota, becoming just the eighth Raptors
rookie to reach the milestone. Barnes (49 games) becomes the third fastest rookie to reach the 700-point
mark in franchise history, behind only Vince Carter (39 games) and Damon Stoudamire (38 games).
Barnes currently ranks fourth among rookies with 706 total points. He leads all first year players in minutes
per game (35.4), ranks third in rebounds (7.4) and fifth in both scoring (14.4) and assists (3.3).
• Reserves Precious Achiuwa (11) and Thaddeus Young (10) each scored in double figures Feb. 16 vs.
Minnesota. Toronto is now 7-1 this season in games when two or more reserves score 10+ points
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (33-14-4 – 70 Points) vs.
MINNESOTA WILD (31-15-3 – 65 Points)
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2022
1 2 3 FINAL
MINNESOTA 0 1 0 1
TORONTO 0 1 2 3
- Auston Matthews scored for Toronto at 9:04 of the second period. Matthews scored his second
goal of the game at 10:22 of the third period. Matthews has recorded 36 goals this season.
Matthews has posted five points through his last two games (3G, 2A).
- Alexander Kerfoot scored on Minnesota’s empty net at 19:18 of the third period. Kerfoot
recorded his eighth goal of the season.
- Timothy Liljegren posted the primary assist on Matthews’ first goal of the game. Liljegren recorded his 10th assist of the season.
- Travis Dermott registered the secondary assist on Matthews’ first goal of the game. Dermott posted his fourth assist of the season.
- Mitch Marner recorded the primary assist on Matthews’ second goal of the game and the primary assist on Kerfoot’s goal. Marner has posted 31 assists this season. Marner has posted an assist in back-to-back games (3A).
- John Tavares registered the secondary assist on Kerfoot’s goal. Tavares posted his 31st assist of the season. Tavares has recorded an assist in back-to-back games.
- Petr Mrázek stopped 29 of 30 shots in tonight’s win.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
- The Maple Leafs were 0-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill tonight.
- Auston Matthews currently leads the league in goals with 36.
- Auston Matthews tied a season-high (and a career second-best) with 17 face-off wins during tonight’s game.
- TJ Brodie tied a season-high with five blocks recorded during tonight’s win.
- Travis Dermott was on the ice for a team-high 20 Toronto shot attempts-for at 5-on-5.
- Travis Dermott finished the game with a team-high 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 66.67 percent (20 for, 10 against).
SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)
1st 2nd 3rd TOTAL
MINNESOTA 6 (6) 11 (6) 13 (9) 30 (21)
TORONTO 5 (4) 10 (7) 10 (9) 25 (20)
SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)
1st 2nd 3rd TOTAL
MINNESOTA 16 (15) 20 (11) 21 (15) 57 (41)
TORONTO 14 (9) 16 (12) 20 (19) 50 (40)
ON HOME ICE
- The Maple Leafs are 19-5-1 at home this season.
- Toronto’s all-time record is 13-11-0-2 in 26 games against the Minnesota Wild and 9-5-0-0 in 14
games played in Toronto.
- Toronto is 16-7-2 against the Western Conference this season and 6-3-2 against the Central Division this season.
- Toronto is 12-10-2 when the opponent scores the first goal of the game.
- The Maple Leafs are 10-5-0 when tied after one period and 5-2-2 when tied after two periods.
- Toronto is 12-4-1 when outshot by their opponent.
- The Maple Leafs are 4-3-0 in Thursday games.
MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS
Shots 4 (Matthews, Nylander)
Shot Attempts 10 (Nylander)
Faceoff Wins 17 (Matthews)
Faceoff Win Percentage 100% (Kerfoot – 1 won, 0 lost)
Hits 3 (Lyubushkin)
Blocked Shots 5 (Brodie)
Takeaways 6 (Matthews)
TOI 24:48 (Brodie)
Power Play TOI 2:36 (Marner, Matthews, Nylander)
Shorthanded TOI 5:03 (Brodie)
Shifts 26 (Marner)
5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage 66.67% (Dermott – 20 for, 10 against)
Feb. 26 Leafs at Detroit Little Caesars Arena 7:30 pm ET
Feb. 28 Leafs at Washington Capital One Arena 7:30 pm ET
March 2 Leafs vs. Buffalo Scotiabank Arena 7:30 pm ET
March 5 Leafs vs. Canucks Scotiabank Arena 7:00 pm ET
March 7 Leafs at Columbus Nationwide Arena 7:00 pm ET
March 8 Leafs vs. Seattle Scotiabank Arena 8:00 pm ET
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On tonight’s defensive effort:
“I thought it was really solid. We were disciplined and committed to it. It was a low event hockey game, not the most exciting game for sure and our guys I thought just stayed committed to it. Just kept trying to
find ways to crack through offensively. We weren’t great offensively today but give Minnesota credit for how they competed and how they played but we’ve been challenging our guys to be more committed defensively and be more focused on it. So the fact that we stayed disciplined in this type of game when
there is not a lot happening offensively is really big for our team.”
On his team’s defensive effort tonight:
“I just thought we stuck with it for the full 60 minutes. There wasn’t a whole lot going on out there offensively for both teams, pretty structured game but I thought Mrázek made some pretty incredible saves when we had breakdowns and we were able to capitalize on a couple of chances so it’s nice to get back in the win column and going to keep this momentum going.”
On the importance of tonight’s game:
“Every game is important especially after not winning the last three games so being patient in this game was a big factor and I think we waited for the right moment and great play by Matthews on the blue line there and finished it.”
On showing some excitement after Kerfoot’s empty net goal:
“I feel like I’m always excited after every win and empty net goal we score. Every game you want to bring
joy and get the win, especially after three losses in a row.