With 24 teams in the mix for the Stanley Cup, the expectations might be different for the Toronto Maple Leafs when the post-season begins sometime this summer. But they haven’t changed one bit for John Tavares. Read MoreTRAIKOS: Tavares determined to change his post-season narrative — Toronto Sun
Cooking, barbecuing, working out. Read MoreLeafs’ Tavares enjoying time with son during pandemic, mindful of those ‘on the front line’ — Toronto Sun
By Terry Koshan
Cooking, barbecuing, working out.
Maple Leafs captain John Tavares has been trying to keep himself occupied at his Toronto home with the National Hockey League season on pause in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but there’s one part of his life that takes precedence.
“I’m just really enjoying spending time with my son,” Tavares said on Monday during a video conference call organized by the NHL. “When you’re travelling through the season, you’re in and out so quickly, you don’t get to experience that consistency.
“Just having that time to be around on a daily basis and be able to help out and spend time with them has been fantastic.”
Tavares and his wife, Aryne, became parents last September with the birth of their son Jace.
During the call — which included fellow Atlantic Division players Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings and Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators — Tavares made it clear he’s not taking the time off from the game for granted.
“With the uncertainty, it’s a good time to disconnect and relax and slowly build yourself back up, as hopefully some positivity comes around the corner,” Tavares said. “The first couple of days I just tried to get an understanding of where things are at and what has hit us. Since then, (you) try to develop some type of structure to create some normalcy.”
No one has a true idea of when we’re going to see professional athletes back on the job, never mind those in the NHL, but that wasn’t at the forefront for the players on the call.
For Tavares, it was about recognizing those he knows in New York from his days as an Islander, as well as Leafs fans.
That the Leafs were inching their way toward clinching a playoff berth when the NHL went on pause doesn’t matter a heck of a lot now.
“I know a few people who are right in the fire of it, and seeing how it’s spreading and really making the impact that it is in New York, I really hope everyone there is staying safe and following the health recommendations,” Tavares said. “Whether it’s former teammates, staff and people I know very well, the fans down there, people I interacted with there, I wish all the best to them and hope it can get better.
“In Toronto, we certainly miss playing in front of our fans and going to Scotiabank Arena and competing to play in the playoffs and the opportunity that we had in front of us.
“It’s a really special thing to be a Maple Leaf, and we never take that for granted and miss it. People have been really good in my area understanding (to follow the advice of local authorities and health professionals), we’re all here supporting each other, helping each other to do the best we can to get this back to normal as quickly as possible and (to) help everyone on the front line who are making a lot of sacrifices to keep everyone safe.”
There was some levity during the call. Chara got a laugh when he said that Tuukka Rask would be the teammate he would least want to be quarantined with because of Rask’s flatulence issues.
If he had to pick a teammate to be in quarantine with, Tavares said it would be Mitch Marner or Justin Holl.
“The type of energy they bring around the locker room, how much fun they have every day is something anyone would enjoy,” Tavares said. “Two guys who are a lot of fun to be around.”
Who among teammates is Tavares glad he is not in quarantine with?
“Good question … can’t think of anyone right off the top of my head,” Tavares said.
Among the way the Leafs are keeping in touch with each other is via group chat.
“We can’t leave each other too long without giving it to one another,” Tavares said. “You miss being around the guys.”
Unlike many, Tavares hasn’t been glued to Netflix to watch the documentary Tiger King, though his wife has been watching it and the small bits Tavares has seen are “pretty mind-boggling.”
If Tavares could have one album to listen to during the time at home?
“I like a lot of 90s stuff, so whether it would be Dave Matthews Band or Goo Goo Dolls or U2, something like that,” Tavares said.
A message of support and encouragement in the wake of the coronavirus came from John Tavares via social media on Wednesday night. Read MoreLeafs captain Tavares posts message of support in wake of coronavirus — Toronto Sun.
By Terry Koshan
A message of support and encouragement in the wake of the coronavirus came from John Tavares via social media on Wednesday night.
“To all hockey fans in Toronto & beyond,” the note on Twitter from the Maple Leafs captain started, “let’s all play inside & play for each other.
“With this challenge comes great opportunity to enjoy quality time with family and loved ones. Let’s take care of each other by washing our hands frequently and practicing social distancing.
“To all the healthcare & frontline workers, thank you! Thank you for your courage, determination and hard work to fight this crisis. We are all extremely grateful.
“To Leafs nation, my teammates and I can’t wait until we get the opportunity again to put on our skates, and wear the Maple Leaf on our chest.
“Until then, let’s do everything we can to help each other by staying safe and healthy!”
Tavares’ message was accompanied by a photo of him holding son Jace, who was born last September.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS (34-23-6 – 74 Points) vs.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (34-23-8 – 76 Points)
FEBRUARY 29, 2020 ▪ 7:00 PM EST
SCOTIABANK ARENA (TORONTO, ON) ▪
TV: SPORTSNET/HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA ▪
RADIO: TSN 1050
MAPLE LEAFS HISTORY versus VANCOUVER
|ALL-TIME RECORD:||60-62-22-3 (147 Games)|
|ALL-TIME AT HOME:||34-25-11-1 (71 Games)|
MAPLE LEAFS CAREER LEADERS versus VANCOUVER
|GAMES PLAYED:||Kyle Clifford (38), Jake Muzzin (32), Jason Spezza (27)|
|GOALS:||John Tavares (9), Jason Spezza (6), Three players tied (4)|
|ASSISTS:||Tyson Barrie (11), Jason Spezza (10), John Tavares (10)|
|POINTS:||John Tavares (19), Jason Spezza (16), Tyson Barrie (15)|
|PENALTY MINUTES:||Kyle Clifford (61), Jake Muzzin (24), Morgan Rielly (9)|
MAPLE LEAFS – CANUCKS TEAM STATS
|GOALS FOR (Rank):||228 (1st)||206 (11th)|
|GOALS AGAINST (Rank):||212 (28th)||192 (12th)|
|POWER PLAY [%] (Rank):||43/177 [24.3%] (4th)||54/220 [24.6%] (3rd)|
|PENALTY KILL [%] (Rank):||138/180 [76.7%] (26th)||159/198 [80.3%] (t-16th)|
|SHOTS (Rank):||2142 (4th)||1963 (22nd)|
|5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPTS FOR (Rank):||3241 (3rd)||2763 (24th)|
|5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT % (Rank):||52.2% (6th)||48.3% (22nd)|
|FACEOFF % (Rank):||52.7% (3rd)||54.1% (2nd)|
MAPLE LEAFS – CANUCKS NOTES
|First Matchup between Clubs:||October 11, 1970 (Vancouver 5, Toronto 3)|
|All-Time Record:||60-62-22-3 (147 Games)|
|All-Time Record at Home:||34-25-11-1 (71 Games)|
|All-Time Record on the Road:||26-37-11-2 (76 Games)|
|Last Win vs. Opponent at Home:||January 5, 2019 (Toronto 5, Vancouver 0)|
MAPLE LEAFS MILESTONES vs. CANUCKS
|Kyle Clifford||First NHL game (Oct. 9, 2010 (LAK) at VAN)|
|Travis Dermott||First NHL game (Jan. 6, 2018 vs. VAN)|
First NHL point (Assist) (Jan. 6, 2018 vs. VAN)
|Mitch Marner||200th NHL game (Jan. 5, 2019 vs. VAN)|
|Jake Muzzin||First NHL game (Oct. 9, 2010 (LAK) at VAN)|
First NHL point (Assist) (Oct. 15, 2010 (LAK) at VAN)
MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS
|POWER PLAY POINTS||24 (Matthews)|
|SHORTHANDED POINTS||2 (Engvall, Kapanen)|
|FACEOFF WIN%||55.7% (Gauthier)|
|5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT %||54.9% (Nylander)|
|BLOCKED SHOTS||110 (Muzzin)|
|TOI PER GAME||24:15 (Rielly)|
|PP TOI PER GAME||3:06 (Marner)|
|SH TOI PER GAME||2:50 (Ceci)|
MAPLE LEAFS SNAPSHOTS
|Faceoffs||– The Maple Leafs rank third among NHL teams in faceoff win percentage (52.7%) and are second among NHL teams in offensive zone faceoff win percentage (54.0%).|
|Goals by Strength||– The Maple Leafs hold the NHL lead in goals scored at 5-on-5 (154).|
|Goals by Period||– Toronto is tied for second in the NHL in goals scored in the second period (84) and are tied for sixth in the NHL in goals scored in the third period (75).|
|Power Play||– The Maple Leafs are the lone NHL team to score at least 40 power play goals (43) with fewer than 180 power play opportunities (177).|
|Penalty Kill||– Toronto has been shorthanded 180 times this season, which is the eighth-fewest times shorthanded in the NHL.|
|Scoring First||– Toronto has a .767 win percentage when scoring first, which is tied for the fifth-highest in the NHL.|
MAPLE LEAFS PLAYER NOTES
|Frederik Andersen||– Tied for third among NHL goaltenders in wins (27).- Ranks third in the NHL in saves (1,347).- Has a save percentage of .914 in 20 games played on one day rest.- Is 9-2-5 with a 1.52 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage in 16 career games against Vancouver.|
|Tyson Barrie||– Has seven multi-assist games, which is tied for eighth-most among NHL defencemen.- Tied for fourth among NHL defencemen in multi-point games (11).|
– Averages 14.57 shot attempts per game at 5-on-5, which is the fourth-highest average among NHL defencemen who have played in at least 50 games.- Ranks 18th among NHL defencemen in 5-on-5 time on ice per game (18:14).
|Jack Campbell||– Has a 3-0-1 record with a .919 save percentage and a 2.40 goals-against average since being acquired by the Maple Leafs.|
|Kyle Clifford||– Seventh among NHL left wingers who have appeared in 50 games in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (54.5%).|
– Averages 14.88 shot attempts per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5, which ranks 17th among left wingers.- Ranks 9.76 hits per 60 minutes of ice time, which ranks 33rd among NHL skaters.
|Pierre Engvall||– Ninth among NHL rookie forwards who have appeared in 30 games in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (51.5%). – Has an on-ice goals-for percentage of 52.7 percent at 5-on-5, which is the eighth highest among NHL rookie forwards who have appeared in 30 games.- Ranks fifth among rookie forwards in 5-on-5 shot attempts per 60 minutes (13.62).|
|Justin Holl||– Has started the eighth-lowest percentage of his 5-on-5 shifts (42.7%) in the offensive zone among right-handed defencemen.- Ranks second in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (52.0%) among NHL defencemen who have started less than 45 percent of their 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone (42.7%).- Has the highest unblocked shot attempt percentage at 5-on-5 (52.6%) among NHL defencemen to have started fewer than 45 percent (42.7%) of their shifts in the offensive zone.|
|Zach Hyman||– Ranks fifth among Maple Leafs skaters in points per game (0.78).- Fourth among Toronto forwards in even-strength time on ice per game (16:04).- Ranks second among Toronto forwards in shorthanded time on ice per game (1:48).|
|Kasperi Kapanen||– Has drawn 18 penalties this season and taken eight, which gives him the highest net penalties among Toronto skaters (+10) and ranks tied for 23rd among NHL forwards.- Ranks fourth among Maple Leafs and 11th among NHL right wingers who have appeared in 50 games in assists per 60 minutes of ice time (1.28) at 5-on-5.|
|Alex Kerfoot||– Ranks second among Toronto skaters who have appeared in 50 games in assists per 60 minutes of ice time (1.32) at 5-on-5.- Tied for seventh among Maple Leafs in even-strength points (8-17-25).- Tied for second among Maple Leafs in primary assists at 5-on-5 (11).|
|Mitch Marner||– Ninth among NHL skaters in assists (48).- Has 12 multi-assist games, which is tied for the sixth-most among NHL skaters.- Averaging 1.17 points per game, which is tied for the 15th-highest average in the NHL.- Averaging 1.84 assists per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5, which is fifth among NHLers who have appeared in at least 50 games.- Tied for eighth in the NHL in primary assists (30).- Ranks fifth among NHL forwards in time on ice per game (21:28)|
|Auston Matthews||– Second among NHL skaters in goals (44).- Leads the NHL with 33 even-strength goals.- Leads the NHL in goals scored at 5-on-5 (27).- Second in the NHL in wrist shot goals (26).- Second in the NHL in multi-goal games (10).- Tied for fifth in the NHL in multi-point games (24).- Ranks 11th among NHL skaters in points (44-32-76).- Fourth in the NHL with 259 shots on goal.|
|William Nylander||– Leads the Maple Leafs and is tied for fifth among NHLers in game-winning goals (7).- One of 11 NHLers to average at least 14:00 minutes per game at 5-on-5 (14:31) while maintaining a goal per 60-minute rate of at least 1.20 (1.25).- Tied for eighth in the NHL in goals scored at 5-on-5 (19).- Ranks seventh among NHL forwards who average 14:00 per game (14:31) in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (54.9%).|
|Rasmus Sandin||– Ranks 10th among rookie defencemen who have appeared in at least 10 games in points per 60 minutes of ice time (0.92) at 5-on-5. – Has a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 54.1 percent, which ranks fourth among rookie defencemen who have skated in at least 10 games.|
|Jason Spezza||– Averaging 2.13 points per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5 this season, which is the fourth-highest average among Toronto skaters who have appeared in at least 40 games.- Averaging 0.83 goals per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5 this season, which ranks fourth among Maple Leafs who have appeared in at least 40 games.- Averaging 1.30 assists per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5, which is the third-highest average among Toronto skaters.|
|John Tavares||– Tied for 20th among NHL skaters in multi-point games (17).- Has 18 points (8-8-16) in 14 games during the month of February.- Tied for 15th in the NHL in faceoff wins (564)- Had three points (2-1-3) in the first meeting between Toronto and Vancouver on December 10.- Has recorded 12 points (6-6-12) in 11 games against Pacific Division teams.|
CURRENT POINT STREAKS
|Mitch Marner||Has assists (2) in two consecutive games.|
|Auston Matthews||Has assists (2) and points (1-2-3) in two consecutive games.|
|William Nylander||Has goals (2) in two consecutive games and points (3-3-6) in five consecutive games.|
|Jason Spezza||Has assists (2) in two consecutive games.|
|John Tavares||Has points (3-3-6) in four consecutive games.|
|Zach Hyman||Three games from 300 NHL games|
|Kasperi Kapanen||Three games from 200 NHL games|
|Mitch Marner||Five games from 300 NHL games|
|Jason Spezza||One assist from 600 assists|
|William Nylander||300th NHL game (February 22 vs. Carolina)|
|Cody Ceci (Ankle)||On injured reserve.|
|Andreas Johnsson (Knee)||On injured reserve.|
|Ilya Mikheyev (Wrist Laceration)||On injured reserve.|
|Jake Muzzin (Hand)||Sustained a broken hand on February 25 at Tampa Bay.|
|Morgan Rielly (Foot)||On injured reserve.|
|Man Games Lost: 177|
|February 26||Recalled defenceman Calle Rosen from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).|
|February 24||Loaned defenceman Kevin Gravel to the Toronto Marlies (AHL).|
|February 24||Acquired forward Matt Lorito from the New York Islanders in exchange for defenceman Jordan Schmaltz.|
|February 24||Acquired Vegas’ 2020 fifth-round pick in a three-team trade with Chicago and Vegas in exchange for forward Martins Dzierkals.|
|February 24||Recalled defenceman Kevin Gravel from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).|
|February 24||Acquired defenceman Calle Rosen from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for goaltender Michael Hutchinson.|
|February 22||Acquired forward Miikka Salomaki from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenceman Ben Harpur.|
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (33-23-8 – 74 Points) vs.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (40-18-5 – 85 Points)
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2020
ON THE SCORESHEET
- Jake Muzzin put the Maple Leafs on the board at 12:48 of the first period. Muzzin has points (3-5-8) in six consecutive games. He has a goal and an assist in two games against the Lightning this season. Four of his six goals have come on the road in 2019-20.
- John Tavares scored the second Toronto goal of the game on the power play at 16:42 of the first period before notching the third Maple Leafs goal of the night at 12:25 of the second period. Tonight’s game is his fourth multi-goal and 17th multi-point performance of 2019-20. He has goals (2) in two consecutive games and points (2-2-4) in three consecutive games. He has 17 points (10-7-17) in 17 games against Atlantic Division teams.
- William Nylander registered the lone assist on Tavares’ second period goal before scoring the fourth Toronto goal of the game on the power play at 14:21 of the second period. Nylander has points (2-3-5) in four consecutive games. Tonight’s game is his 12th multi-point game of 2019-20. He has 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 31 road games this season.
- Jason Spezza registered the primary assist on Muzzin’s first period goal. Spezza has three assists over his last five games. He has registered 16 (5-11-16) of his 24 points on the road this season. He has 56 points (23 goals, 33 assists) in 48 career games against Tampa Bay.
- Frederik Gauthier picked up the secondary assist on Muzzin’s first period goal. Gauthier has registered 11 points (6-5-11) in 55 games this season. He has recorded six points (2-4-6) in 19 games against Atlantic Division opposition.
- Tyson Barrie recorded the primary assist on Tavares’ first period goal and later had the secondary assist on Nylander’s second period goal. Barrie has assists (4) in two consecutive games. Tonight’s game is his seventh multi-assist and 11th multi-point game of 2019-20. His seven multi-assist games are tied for the eighth-most among NHL defencemen.
- Auston Matthews had the secondary assist on Tavares’ first period goal. Matthews has three points (1-2-3) over his last four games. His first period assist gives him 74 points (43 goals, 31 assists), which establishes a new single-season career-high for points, surpassing his previous high of 73 established in 2018-19. He has 20 points (12-8-20) in 20 games against Atlantic Division opposition.
- Mitch Marner registered the primary assist on Nylander’s second period goal. Marner has two assists over his last three games. He has two assists in two games against Tampa Bay in 2019-20. In 23 road games this season, he has recorded 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists). He ranks ninth among NHLers in assists (47) and tied for eighth among NHLers in primary assists (30).
- Frederik Andersen stopped 26 shots to earn the victory.
SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)
|TORONTO||11 (9)||9 (7)||3 (3)||–||23 (19)|
|TAMPA BAY||8 (7)||7 (6)||14 (12)||–||29 (25)|
SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)
|TORONTO||16 (13)||15 (10)||8 (7)||–||39 (30)|
|TAMPA BAY||13 (12)||19 (11)||22 (16)||–||54 (39)|
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
|Record on the Road||17-14-1 (32 Games)|
|All-Time Record vs. Tampa Bay||55-35-2-7 (99 Games)|
|All-Time Record vs. Tampa Bay on the Road||27-17-1-4 (49 Games)|
|Record vs. Eastern Conference||18-15-6 (39 Games)|
|Record vs. Atlantic Division||10-8-2 (20 Games)|
MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS
|Shot Attempts||6 (Matthews)|
|Faceoff Wins||6 (Tavares)|
|Faceoff Win Percentage||67% (Hyman – 2 won, 1 lost)|
|Hits||3 (Clifford, Dermott)|
|Blocked Shots||3 (Liljegren)|
|Power Play TOI||5:28 (Barrie)|
|Shorthanded TOI||5:07 (Holl)|
|Shifts||25 (Barrie, Dermott, Holl)|
|5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage||61.9% (Kapanen – 13 for, 8 against)|
|Opponent scores first||11-18-6|
|Lead after 1||16-3-1|
|Trail after 2||4-16-4|
|Score multiple power play goals||9-1-0|
|Do not allow a power play goal||19-8-4|
|Outshot by opponent||14-13-4|
- The Maple Leafs went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 2-for-4 on the power play tonight.
- Travis Dermott and Kasperi Kapanen were on the ice for a team-high 13 shot attempts at 5-on-5 tonight. Dermott finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 54.2 (13 for, 11 against), while Kapanen had a team-high 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 61.9 percent (13 for, 8 against).
- Auston Matthews won 60 percent (3 won, 2 lost) of his defensive zone faceoffs.
- Jake Muzzin (Hand) left tonight’s game and did not return.
- John Tavares was 3-for-5 (60%) in the faceoff circle when taking offensive zone draws.
- Thursday, February 27, 7:00 p.m. at Florida Panthers (TSN4, FAN 590)
- 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)
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On what he liked about the team’s performance tonight vs. the previous two games:
I think we’ve talked about it before. We’ve shown at different times that this is a group with a lot of character and a lot of pride, and we showed that today with how we responded.
On if the performance tonight started with success in the faceoff circle:
Yeah, for sure, those guys had strong nights. I think it’s just a sign of how engaged we were in the game. I would say that was where the game begins in a lot of cases. Guys were hard on the puck in all areas of the game.
On Muzzin’s performance tonight:
Just complete. He battled, he was competitive, he shot one into the net, found a way to get a couple of assists. Just all over the game. He was a real leader for us back there.
On Kerfoot’s role in kickstarting the third line tonight:
Yeah, I think it really helps us. That line has really been struggling for us to find an identity and to find some consistency. It’s tough for us because I thought Kerf was doing an excellent job with [Tavares] and [Nylander] and playing well there. Just talking we said the acquisition of Malgin gives us an opportunity to give him a look with those guys. I just thought that Alex could bring something back to that line. We wanted to give him a chance to be a centre and get that line going. The wingers, Engvall and Kappy, are two guys we think have more to give us. That happened today.
On Andersen’s performance on a late first period penalty kill:
Yeah, he was excellent. He was perfect, he keeps it out of the net. He battled, he looked solid there. It was just a really good sign for our team. He made saves on the pucks that they were throwing around the net, but there was also a lot of loose ones hanging out there. Our guys collapsed real hard on the loose pucks to maybe not necessarily get it out like we would have liked, but at least kept away from our net and allowed us to settle the game. I thought that penalty kill was a really important time in the game, obviously it didn’t crack. It was a good chance for our penalty kill, which had been outstanding for us. I think the 12 games or so in the month leading up to the game in Pittsburgh we had the number one penalty kill in the NHL. So the penalty kill has been really strong for us and today was a chance for us to bring it right back.
On Kapanen’s impact on the game tonight:
That’s what he’s capable of doing. That’s the impact that he has on our team. So just really great to see that. It gives us consistency all throughout our lineup.
On the challenge of trying to maximize the team’s performance after the last two games:
This season is going very different; different things. It’s going to require different things from me, it’s going to require different things from our players. We didn’t like how the last little bit has gone. I was excited about the opportunity to get to work yesterday and put in the work and respond. You’re playing against the same team, it has a playoff feel to it when you take a beatdown in the first game, you have a chance to regroup and make a plan and push your team, challenge the team, motivate your team. That’s the best part of this game. I was excited about it; I think our players were too and it showed tonight.
On if there were any keys to getting the right response from the team after Tuesday:
I think there was a lot said, a lot done and all that kind of stuff, but a part of it too is you just don’t like to get embarrassed. Our guys have a lot of pride in themselves, a lot of pride in the jersey and the organization. So, we could have said or done nothing, and we might have gotten this type of response. We’ll never really know. Regardless of the route, we like that we got the response, we like the outcome, we love the result. Get the shutout and didn’t give up much against a very good team. I thought we controlled play for good chunks of time against a very good team. A lot of really good healthy signs here so we’ll enjoy it.
FREDERIK ANDERSEN (24 SAVES)
On the effort from the team’s blueliners tonight:
It was great. I think we responded the way we wanted to. I think the guys played really good. Muzz especially I thought was unbelievable today. Obviously, a great goal and amazing break out pass for Kappy’s goal, I think it was. Overall, a really good effort by the guys.
On the team scoring first and building its lead:
I think it goes without saying it’s better to score than give anything up. I thought we did a good job.
On if the team defended differently late to shut down Pittsburgh’s attack:
No, I thought we just stuck with our game for the most part of the game. We played a complete effort. That was a great response by everyone, I think, the way we want to be like.
KASPERI KAPANEN (1 GOAL)
On playing with emotion tonight:
I think the whole team showed a lot of emotion tonight, not just me in particular. You know, that’s the outcome when we play like that, we play with emotion and we stick to the structure and play the Maple Leaf way. That’s what happens and it was a good game throughout.
On his fight:
Stuff happens on the ice. I think Sandin got hit there and if it wasn’t me out there, I’m sure someone else would have stood up and defended one another. He came over and it just happened.
ALEX KERFOOT (1 ASSIST)
On Kapanen dropping the gloves:
It shows emotion, that’s what we were looking for. We wanted kind of a little more bite to our group. He’s a fiery guy at times and he had a great game tonight. I thought he was all over the forecheck, he was physical all night. When you see a guy like him drop the gloves, everyone on the bench gets a boost from that.
On if it’s frustrating why the team can’t have this effort more consistently:
I don’t think frustrating is the right word. I think maybe it’s disappointing the effort we’ve had a times this year but whether you’re a team who wins games or can’t win games, every team in this league can win games so it’s not a matter of we’re some upper echelon team that on certain nights can win games — I think that there’s a lot of teams in this league that when they’re playing well can win games. We’ve just got to find that energy, that bite, that jam that we had tonight and be able to bring that on a consistent basis.
DENIS MALGIN (FIRST GAME AS A MAPLE LEAF)
On playing his first game as a Maple Leaf:
I was trying to do my best you know, I felt good.
On playing with Tavares and Nylander:
It’s a great opportunity for me and now I’m just going to build off it.
On what being traded felt like:
Actually I don’t think so much, so I just took it and I was happy to be here.
WILLIAM NYLANDER (1 GOAL)
On tonight’s win:
I think it was a solid team game. I think this is what we needed. We had two terrible games, so to come back this is a good start, but we’ve just got to stick with this kind of game and keep playing like this and we’ll be good.
On what led to this effort after two straight losses:
Getting ready for the game, it’s just think that we haven’t been practicing so much and yesterday was a battle practice so we got into that kind of mode again. I think that was a good practice for us just to refresh in those kinds of areas of the game, which needed to improve.
JOHN TAVARES (2 ASSISTS)
On what he liked from the team tonight:
I think the intensity of the group, the way we started. It was a tight hockey game and we just stuck with it, got our opportunities, capitalized and didn’t let up in their end, I think that’s key for us. Good win, but obviously we’ve got to turn the page and get ready for Saturday. Lots of big hockey games coming up.
On the team’s success in the faceoff circle:
Yeah, we got a couple [goals] off them, so you just try to be as well prepared for those situations and those scenarios and take advantage of them when you can. Great shot by Muzz on the first one and then anytime you get a 5-on-3 and you’re able to win it clean, you’re able to get a good look right off of it. So good play [Matthews], great shot by Will. Just good areas to be sharp in and we generate a lot just everyone competing, hard work and fighting for their space and that led to open ice and good looks and following up on second opportunities.
The pressure is on, Zach Hyman. Read MoreProduction from Hyman, Tavares should let Keefe maintain Leafs’ new Matthews trio — Toronto Sun
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On the third period:
Yeah, we scored that goal, it sets us up to give us a chance to win in the third. The pace of play increased dramatically after that goal. Obviously, they’re pushing. We didn’t handle it well, I thought. When I say that, I thought we handled it very well defensively. I didn’t think we cracked, they had a couple of little chances in and around our net. Other than that, they didn’t have anything, I thought. They score a goal on a point shot. But I didn’t like how we played offensively where we had the puck, we did all the things that we don’t want to be as a team and we just gave it back to them, so we never had a chance to get going.
On if fatigue played a role in the third period:
I’ll let you guys draw some conclusions on that. I’m not focused on that. It’s part of the League. It’s part of the demands of what goes on in the schedule, the ebbs and flows of it. I thought we played a good game and a hard game. I thought we competed. What happens in the third period today is a lot different than what happens yesterday. Yesterday we’re not engaged, we’re not competitive or physical enough and on our heels. This game here I thought we defended very well, defended very hard and didn’t give up the middle of the ice much at all. We just were very poor with the puck. When you have a team that’s pushing, they have the energy of the crowd and you just continuously give them the puck you’re going to be on your heels a lot.
On Jack Campbell’s play:
Yeah, he was there, he obviously didn’t let anything in until the very end and I thought we did a heck of a job protecting him. We didn’t give up very many scoring chances through this game at all. But they’re back-to-back games, he’s been through a lot here this week and he was solid.
On what has led to John Tavares’ scoring streak:
He’s just catching on. We’ve talked about him, he’s a good player, he’s going to have these swings. It’s kind of a waste of time to talk about it when he’s not scoring, because it’s going to turn. So it’s the way that it goes. It’s been great, it’s been good timing. Obviously, we played it out Willy this weekend, so we needed somebody else to step up. And, for me, that’s really the difference in the hockey game today is you don’t win games when you score one goal, it’s very difficult. So I think that’s the way it went this game. We were not able to generate enough offensively in the first and second periods as well. Power play wasn’t very good for us today. So we let that team hang around and when you just have a one goal cushion like that, you leave the door open over for a point shot to catch you.
On Frederik Andersen’s status:
I’m not quite sure where that’s at. I know he did skate again today. While we were here, he skated, and I haven’t got a report on it. So we’ll just have to see how he is when we get back.
TYSON BARRIE (25:02 TOI)
On the third period:
Yeah, give them credit, they came out — we had a good start to the third, obviously, we got one and then from there they kind of controlled the period had us on our heels, like you said. I think we have to do a better job of responding in a way. Getting more O-zone time and not letting them sustain so much pressure but, at the end of the day, we’re trying to hold on to the lead and they get one with two minutes left or whatever. It’s a bit frustrating.
On Jack Campbell’s play:
He was great tonight. He was good all night and makes a great save on the breakaway and it pops right to the guy. Probably not a great shot selection by me on that 3-on-2 but that’s sometimes the way 3-on-3 goes. You’ve got to be a little smarter sometimes.
JACK CAMPBELL (28 SAVES)
On playing in a Toronto-Montreal game:
It’s fun. What a rivalry. Historic and two really solid teams this year. I thought both teams competed really hard and didn’t give each other much. I thought Price at the other end was so solid and we could have easily had a couple more, but at the end of the day I’ve just got to make one more save before overtime and we get two points and that’s what we need right now.
On his performance tonight:
I’m just definitely not happy giving that one up to give them life again and blow that lead in the third. I just know my ability and I’m confident with my team in front of me and they battled all night. One more save and we get two points.
JAKE MUZZIN (24:39 TOI)
On if playing a back-to-back impacted the team’s third period performance:
Maybe a little bit. No excuse, though. Everyone goes through back-to-backs and playing tired and stuff like that. We’ve got to bear down and get it done.
On his long second period shift that included a heavy shot block:
Well, it doesn’t feel good. It’s part of hockey. Sometimes in the second period, you get a long change, you can’t get off. It happens both ways, so it is what it is.
JOHN TAVARES (1 GOAL)
On tonight’s third period:
Yeah, obviously we got the lead. They came with a lot momentum, I think, felt some desperation. I think obviously, it’s human nature to be a little bit safer in those certain circumstances, but certainly we’ve got to find a way to get on their half of the ice more and generate some more offense and push to increase our lead and continue to be smart with the puck and defensively. No question the circumstances were tough, but you face that at times this year and, we’ve obviously got to find a way to close them out.
On what the team did well defensively through two periods:
I really liked the way we were coming back and getting above them. We really tracked the puck well and caused a lot of turnovers that allowed us to get some good transition that just allowed us to be in on the forecheck and recover pucks and then be able to break them down. We would have liked to get in the middle of the ice a little bit more, but it was a tight hockey game, both goalies played well, but those things obviously were a good factor for us.
WINNIPEG — Working on the same line with William Nylander has given Maple Leafs captain John Tavares a greater appreciation of what Nylander potentially brings to each shift. Read MoreTavares’ up-close look at Nylander has Leafs captain impressed — Toronto Sun
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On the team’s defensive performance as efficient:
Yeah, I thought it was good — efficient is a good term to describe it. I didn’t think we gave up a lot defensively, for sure. We didn’t give up many shots or chances, especially in that third period when we expected them to push. I thought we took care of it pretty well there.
On if the way Nylander and Tavares play together is different from when Nylander and Matthews play together:
Yeah, there’s different dynamics at play there. I’ve liked it so far; the chemistry has been good. The nice thing I think that’s come out with the fact that we’ve moved things around here, since I’ve been here, is it’s giving me a pretty good taste of what different things look like. You never know what the season is going to bring and what each game is going to bring. It gives me a feel for different things. Obviously, we’ve used a number of different combinations so far and we like this one and we like a lot of others that have worked too.
FREDERIK ANDERSEN (26 SAVES)
On the team’s performance tonight:
I thought we made some good adjustments and definitely played a really solid game. I think we got off to a lead and they had to force some stuff to get back into it. So I think we did a better job of not playing into their hand and forcing too much and made them come to us. I thought we did a good job.
On the forwards and defence working in unison and creating quicker breakouts:
Of course I think any time you can help each other out and make it easier for each other, it’s important. That can make the game less hard. I think guys will take less hits if we play it quicker and help each other out like that.
ALEX KERFOOT (1 GOAL, 100TH NHL POINT)
On William Nylander’s play of late:
He’s been playing really well for a long period of time right now. It’s fun to play with him. He makes plays, he’s hard on pucks and protects the puck down low. So, he makes a lot of stuff happen out there. It’s obviously a pleasure to play with him.
On what has led to the chemistry between himself, Nylander and Tavares:
Well, those two guys are just good hockey players. I think you put anyone on their wing and they’re going to have success. They spend a lot of time in the offensive zone. So, it’s just trying to read off them and make plays and they find space, they make good things happen. So I’m just trying to do my job.
WILLIAM NYLANDER (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)
On his line getting the first goal of the game from Kerfoot early in the first:
Yeah, it was a great play by Johnny [Tavares] being hard on his stick. There’s kind of a lucky play there in the corner where he lost the puck, but we were able to get possession of it. It’s a great play and a nice goal by Kerf.
On what has allowed he and Tavares to develop chemistry quickly:
I think it’s just that with some players, you just click automatically from the beginning.
On his pass to set up Matthews’ goal on the power play:
I just saw him backdoor and I kind of knew he would be open, so I just tried to get it over there.
JOHN TAVARES (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)
On tonight’s win:
Yeah, it probably wasn’t the prettiest. I don’t think we made as many plays as we’re capable of. But it was just one of those games where it felt like ping pong, especially early, and we were just able to capitalize on some good opportunities and then played with the lead pretty well. We were able to do a pretty good job on special teams. So, just stuck with it and just made it difficult for them. Just tried to play five inside and really have to make them earn their opportunities and the ice there and then, obviously, try to generate offense ourselves, try to keep the puck and wear them out and make them have to defend.
On the team finding a way to win despite not making as many plays as it can:
You have to have that to win in this league. There are so many good teams, so many good players. Things aren’t going to always go your way. You’re not always going to make the perfect play and mistakes happen and it’s just the nature of our league, our game. So, just staying with it and doing a good job. We regrouped, I thought, pretty well off the timeouts and got back to our game, did some good things and were able to get the win.
NEW YORK RANGERS (19-15-4 – 42 Points) vs.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (21-14-5 – 47 Points)
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2019
ON THE SCORESHEET
- William Nylander put the Maple Leafs on the board with a power play goal at 4:21 of the first period and later registered the primary assist on Auston Matthews’ third period goal. Nylander has assists (3) in two consecutive games and goals (3) and points (3-3-6) in three consecutive games. He has 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) over his last six games played. In two games against the Rangers in 2019-20, he has recorded three goals and two assists.
- Auston Matthews collected the secondary assist on Nylander’s first period goal and later scored Toronto’s second goal of the game at 7:48 of the second period before scoring Toronto’s fourth goal of the game at 19:08 of the third period. Tonight’s game is Matthews’ seventh multi-goal and 15th multi-point game of the season. His 15 multi-point performances are tied for the sixth-most in the NHL, while his seven multi-goal games are the most in the League. He leads the NHL in 5-on-5 goals (18). Matthews has 12 points (7 goals, 5 assists) over his last six games played. In two games against the Rangers this season, he has recorded two goals and three assists. Matthews has collected 31 (20 goals, 11 assists) of his 45 points on home ice this season.
- Pierre Engvall scored the third Maple Leafs goal of the night at 6:22 of the third period. Engvall has three goals over his last five games played. He has two goals in two games against the Rangers this season.
- Mitch Marner had the lone assist on Matthews’ second period goal. Marner has 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists) over his last 10 games played. He has three points (2-1-3) in two games against the Rangers this season. He has 22 points (3 goals, 19 assists) in 17 games on home ice.
- John Tavares registered the primary assist on Nylander’s first period goal. Tavares has assists (6) and points (2-6-8) in four consecutive games. He has 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in 12 games during the month of December. In 10 games against Metropolitan Division opposition, Tavares has 12 points (4-8-12).
- Tyson Barrie recorded the primary assist on Engvall’s third period goal and later collected the secondary assist on Matthews’ third period goal. Barrie has assists (4) and points (1-4-5) in three consecutive games. He has eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) in 12 games during the month of December. Ten of his 16 assists have come on home ice.
- Kasperi Kapanen picked up the secondary assist on Engvall’s third period goal. Kapanen has points (1-1-2) in two consecutive games. He has recorded 19 (8 goals, 11 assists) of his 21 points against Eastern Conference opposition.
- Frederik Andersen stopped 32 of the 37 shots he faced, and a Pavel Buchnevich penalty shot in tonight’s overtime loss. Andersen is 1-for-2 in penalty shot situations this season. Maple Leafs goaltenders have stopped two of the four penalty shots they’ve faced in 2019-20.
SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)
|NEW YORK||10 (9)||19 (17)||7 (7)||1 (0)||(33)|
|TORONTO||14 (10)||19 (17)||12 (9)||2 (0)||(36)|
SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)
|NEW YORK||14 (13)||29 (23)||12 (12)||1 (0)||(48)|
|TORONTO||27 (18)||29 (24)||31 (25)||2 (0)||(67)|
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
|Record at Home||10-4-5 (19 Games)|
|All-Time Record vs. New York||288-222-95-11 (616 Games)|
|All-Time Record vs. New York at Home||168-94-39-6 (307 Games)|
|Record vs. Eastern Conference||12-9-5 (26 Games)|
|Record vs. Metropolitan Division||5-4-4 (13 Games)|
MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS
|Shot Attempts||13 (Barrie, Matthews, Rielly)|
|Faceoff Wins||19 (Tavares)|
|Faceoff Win Percentage||81% (Matthews – 17 won, 4 lost)|
|Blocked Shots||2 (Marincin, Matthews)|
|Power Play TOI||3:35 (Five players tied)|
|Shorthanded TOI||1:15 (Marner)|
|5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage||75% (Brooks, Gauthier – 3 for, 1 against)|
|Opponent scores first||8-11-4|
|Trail after 1||3-7-2|
|Trail after 2||2-8-2|
|Score one power play goal||7-3-3|
|Do not allow a power play goal||11-5-1|
- The Maple Leafs went 1-for-1 on the penalty kill and went 1-for-2 on the power play tonight.
- Adam Brooks played his first career NHL game.
- Adam Brooks and Frederik Gauthier started 20 percent of their 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone, which was the lowest mark among Toronto skaters.
- Auston Matthews won a career-high 17 faceoffs in tonight’s game. He won 80 percent (8 won, 2 lost) of his draws when matched up against New York centre Mika Zibanejad.
- Morgan Rielly was on the ice for a team-high 33 Toronto shot attempts-for at 5-on-5 tonight. Rielly finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 60 percent (33 for, 22 against).
- John Tavares won 79 percent (11 won, 3 lost) of his offensive zone faceoffs.
- Tuesday, December 31, 6:00 p.m. at Minnesota Wild (Sportsnet Ontario, TSN 1050)
- Thursday, January 2, 8:00 p.m. at Winnipeg Jets (TSN4, FAN 590)
- Saturday, January 4, 7:00 p.m. vs. New York Islanders (Sportsnet, TSN 1050)
- Monday, January 6, 7:00 p.m. vs. Edmonton Oilers (TSN4, TSN 1050)
- Wednesday, January 8, 7:30 p.m. vs. Winnipeg Jets (Sportsnet, FAN 590)
John Tavares loves playing with Mitch Marner on his wing, but if Sheldon Keefe sees fit to keep Marner with Auston Matthews, the Maple Leafs captain is cool with that. “He’s trying to do what’s best for the team and get us to play the best we can,” Tavares said of his coach. “We all […]Maple Leafs captain Tavares lines up behind coach with plenty of confidence — Toronto Sun