LFR10 - Game 58 - McElshutty - Tor 4, Car 0

Steve Dangle
February 20 2017 02:27PM

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Auston Matthews scores his best goal yet, Connor Brown bags a pair, and Curtis McElhinney gets the shutout. Are you in?

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Digging Into Toronto's Recent Struggles

DragLikePull
February 20 2017 02:03PM

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Photo Credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY SPORTS

Just over a month ago, on January 17th, the Leafs looked to be in a strong position in the standings.  They had just won four out of five games and were 7th in the Eastern Conference, one point back of sixth with four games in hand.  The standings were tight, with four teams beneath the Leafs within one game of them, but based on the way the Leafs had been playing and the fact that they'd played fewer games than most of the conference, it seemed like the Leafs would be able to build on their recent success.

Instead, in the sixteen games since, Toronto has gone 6-7-3.  The Leafs briefly fell to ninth in the conference after Saturday's loss to the Senators but have climbed back into a playoff spot after last night's win against the Hurricanes.  However, with the surging Florida Panthers, suddenly hot New York Islanders, and climbing Buffalo Sabres all right in the mix behind them, the Leafs' recent struggles have understandably led to concerns among a fan base that was riding high only a month ago, as their strong position has slowly deteriorated.  But how much concern should there really be?  Is Toronto's play slipping, or is there something else that explains recent results.  I decided to dig into the numbers a bit to find out.

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Nazem Kadri named second star of the week by the NHL

Sam Blazer
February 20 2017 01:19PM

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Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Getting recognized for your hard work is a nice feeling. In a year where Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and William Nylander have been getting all kinds of recognition, Nazem Kadri has been forgotten. 

This is despite the center being well on his way to getting career highs in multiple categories. His offensive and defensive talent should be recognized with some of the best in the league.

For now, he will have to deal with being second star of the week in the NHL. His six points in four games are a fantastic mark. It looked like it was his turn to impress the rest of the hockey world.

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Mike Richards could be an option for Leafs' struggling fourth line

Ryan Fancey
February 20 2017 12:34PM

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Photo Credit: Charles Leclaire/USA TODAY SPORTS

Pondering whether or not Mike Richards makes sense for the Leafs almost seems like an annual event, but I have no problem with bringing it up yet again. 

With the trade deadline just over a week away, understandably there hasn't much talk about Toronto doing anything substantial. But when it comes to the bottom of the lineup, plenty of debate has come up over the fourth line in particular, and more specifically the play of Ben Smith. 

As recently as this morning, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet talked about how Brian Boyle could be a target as a substantial upgrade in this regard, something we've covered here as well. But maybe there's a cheaper, easier route to go for the Leafs, a team that's likely cautious of its relatively early success and not keen to sell off any futures at this point. 

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The Nation Notebook: Lucic's struggles, Crosby's 1000th, and the Trade Dudline

Christian Pagnani
February 20 2017 11:00AM

NNNotebook

The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don't quite deserve their own article. 

Where have all the trades gone? By this time last year, we had already seen multiple deals happen. Also, Sidney Crosby scored his 1000th point in just his 757th career game, prompting debate as to whether he's been under-appreciated as a generational talent. 

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