Toronto Maple Leafs’ playoff inexperience no ‘big deal’

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“Some of them have been through it in different stages in their careers, too,” Poulin said.. “You might say, ‘Well, the OHL isn’t the same pressure level.’ But it’s the exact same pressure level for a 17 year old — playing in that environment, in a full building, going into towns like London or Kitchener.” Ten Toronto players have appeared in an NHL playoff game.. James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul have the most experience (39 games each), followed by defenceman John-Michael Liles (36) and captain Dion Phaneuf (25).. New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, left, makes a save as Toronto Maple Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk looks for the rebound during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Newark, N.J.. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) Ryan O’Byrne, the defenceman who was acquired just before the trade deadline last week, is next with 19 games.. O’Byrne and enforcer Colton Orr (12 games) were the only playoff veterans skating with the team during its optional practice on Sunday.. And they were skating with players who will be keys in determining how long any foray into the playoffs might last.. Goaltenders James Reimer and Ben Scrivens have never appeared in the NHL playoffs, but neither has centre Mikhail Grabovski , nor winger Clarke MacArthur .. Nazem Kadri was only 13 when the Leafs last made the playoffs in 2004.. “I think there’s been a playoff feel for more than a couple of weeks,” Liles said.. “When you have a shortened season and you’re battling for points each and every night, it’s almost like the whole season has been a playoff push.” The Leafs beat one of the teams chasing them on Saturday, posting a 2-1 win in New Jersey, and open the week with a home-and-home against the New York Rangers, who are four points behind, in seventh place.. (On Sunday, Sportsclubstats.com gave the Leafs about a 50/50 chance of holding onto fifth place through the final 10 games of their season.) Playoff inexperience became the central narrative heading into the trade deadline, as the Leafs poked and prodded the possibility of adding a veteran goalie, such as Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary) or Roberto Luongo (Vancouver). source: http://o.canada.com/2013/04/08/leafs-playoff-inexperience-no-big-deal/

Kessel lifts Maple Leafs to 4-3 win over Rangers

”I think if we play with the tie and keep going about our business as we were, we have a much better chance to win the hockey game.. I actually didn’t think we were that bad.. We had some breakdowns, but I don’t think we were that bad tonight.” Ryan O’Byrne also scored for Toronto, now 11-7-2 at home.. Nash finished with two goals for New York, which fell to 7-10-2 on the road this season.. ”That next shift after a goal is so important and we didn’t get the job done,” Nash said.. ”We’re a desperate hockey team.. ”We’re desperate for points and we knew we were playing a good game.. The third period was good – we were all over them.. It just came down to a breakdown after that big goal.” Van Riemsdyk had the lone goal of an overly cautious first – Toronto outshot New York 8-7 but the Rangers put two shots off the post.. Henrik Lundqvist made the initial save of an open van Riemsdyk in front before the Leafs forward banged the rebound in at 11:04 for his 16th of the season.. O’Byrne, obtained at the trade deadline, put Toronto ahead 2-0 at 11:28 of the second, taking a nice setup pass from Nazem Kadri and firing a shot past Lundqvist.. It was his second goal of the season and first with the Leafs. source: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/kessel-lifts-maple-leafs-4-022554106–nhl.html

NY Rangers-Maple Leafs: Can the Rangers jump ahead in the Eastern Conference playoff standings?

The puck drops at 7 p.m.. ET.. Here are four lines about tonight’s matchup and the teams’ recent history.. • The Rangers begin a home-and-home with the fifth-seeded Maple Leafs.. If the Blueshirts win both games, they’ll catch up with Toronto, which has 46 points entering tonight.. Think there will be a playoff atmosphere surrounding these two contests?. • The improved Rangers’ power play won’t have an easy time in the next two games.. The Maple Leafs are tied for third in the NHL by killing off 86.7 percent of the power plays they face.. • New York can’t allow 49 shots on goal again.. Yes, the Rangers won 4-1 on Saturday night .. But it took an incredible effort from Henrik Lundqvist to make save after save.. The Rangers have to tighten up defensively against the top-five Maple Leafs offense, one that gets the job done with just 27.2 shots on goal per game. source: http://www.nj.com/rangers/index.ssf/2013/04/ny_rangers-maple_leafs_can_the.html

Toronto Maple Leafs: Positives and Negatives of Their Quiet Deadline

Both sides have reasonable arguments, and there are both positives and negatives about the Leafs’ lack of movement.. Positive: The Leafs Didn’t Move Anything Significant for a Goaltender Dave Nonis’ decision to avoid overpaying for Roberto Luongo was probably the best move he made all day on April 3.. According to hockey insider Darren Dreger of TSN, the Vancouver Canucks actually called the Leafs three times in the final hour before the deadline with offers and Toronto refused all three: Multiple options in Luongo trade talks with Leafs.. Told Canucks wanted Scrivens and multiple picks in talk between 2pm and 3pm et.. #TSN With defensive help being Toronto’s primary need, avoiding Luongo was a great choice.. Negative: Toronto Didn’t Improve at all for Its Playoff Run Yes, I know, the Leafs aren’t supposed to be contenders just yet.. We’re still a few years away from winning.. These lines are often parroted as reasons to avoid bringing in big-name players and paying a steep price to acquire them.. This Leafs team, however, is more than capable of competing in the Eastern Conference this season.. They have played respectable hockey against the top teams in the conference and have a great deal of offensive depth (especially when Joffrey Lupul can stay healthy).. With the goaltending situation stabilizing itself this season, making a play for a better defenseman than Ryan O’Byrne could very well have made this team a threat to win a playoff series or two. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1597332-toronto-maple-leafs-positives-and-negatives-of-their-quiet-deadline

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle praises new-look NY Rangers ahead of pivotal showdown at Air Canada Centre

LET’S GO, STRANGERS!. POWER PLAY UNFAMILIAR IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE   “It doesn’t matter who we play, we know we need points,” said Rangers winger Carl Hagelin, who has rebounded back into form since an off-night in Montreal on March 30.. “But playing this team that’s ahead of us, we want to prove to ourselves that we can beat the guys that are ahead of us in the standings.. We have a good feeling in here, and we want to play with a lot of energy and play better defensively than we did last game.”   The Rangers are 2-0-1 in three games since trading Marian Gaborik at Wednesday’s deadline, but in Saturday night’s 4-1 win in Raleigh, N.C., over the Hurricanes, Henrik Lundqvist had to make 48 saves to protect a 3-0 lead as the Blueshirts nearly fell apart in the first and third periods on the second half of a road back-to-back..   That’s why John Tortorella said Monday that while the Rangers were pleased to pick up two points in North Carolina, the coaches couldn’t let the victory cloud the fact that the Blueshirts needed to improve their performance from that game drastically..   “We always coach our team on how we play,” Tortorella said.. “Yes, points are very important, but we still have to coach – whether we win or lose – on how we play, and teach.”   Of course, while Carlyle glowed about the Rangers, Tortorella had much less to say when asked if he had a “scouting report” on the Maple Leafs.. “I don’t have one,” Tortorella said.. “I coach the Rangers.”   RANGERS STARTING LINEUP (same lineup as Saturday night vs.. Hurricanes) Forwards: Rick Nash-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan, Ryane Clowe-Brad Richards-Mats Zuccarello, Carl Hagelin-Derick Brassard-Brian Boyle, Taylor Pyatt-Darroll Powe-Arron Asham … Defenseman: Michael Del Zotto-Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh-Anton Stralman, John Moore-Steve Eminger …Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist … Scratches: Matt Gilroy (healthy, full practice and bag skate), J.T. source: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/rangers/2013/04/toronto-maple-leafs-coach-randy-carlyle-praises-new-look-ny-rangers-ahead-of-pivotal

Rangers-Maple Leafs Preview

One of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL, the Rangers have recorded at least four goals in their last three victories.. “The belief in here has held strong, we’ve held together and we’ve seen some things that we’re improving along the way,” center Brad Richards said.. “Now we’re getting some points.. No matter how you get them, we need them desperately.” Rick Nash scored for the third time in four games Saturday to push his team-leading total to 15.. He has a goal and six assists in his last five games against the Maple Leafs.. Derek Stepan had a goal and an assist versus the Hurricanes to give him three and three during a four-game point streak.. New York has also seen a resurgence on the power play, going 5 for 11 over the last three games after a 2-for-23 effort in the previous 11.. That newfound efficiency will be tested against a Toronto team that ranks near the top of the league in penalty killing at 86.7 percent.. The Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk has scored one goal in three of his last four against the Rangers.. Toronto is expected to be without left wing Joffrey Lupul because of an undisclosed injury sustained Thursday. source: http://aol.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2013-04-07/rangers-maple-leafs-preview

 

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