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Nylander Scores in Four Straight Playoff Games

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William Nylander potted his fourth goal in as many games to open the 2021 NHL Playoffs. This fact brought up many comparables of similar runs by Maple Leaf scorers from the past. Nylander is one away from the longest playoff goal streak in Maple Leafs franchise history: 1993, Dave Andreychuk scored in five consecutive games in the second round against St. Louis. This was all good and well, but unfortunately he would go on to be held scoreless in the Semifinal against Los Angeles. Perhaps even a single goal or two may have made a difference in that 7-game loss. 1951, Sid Smith scored in five straight games including the first four of the Stanley Cup Final against Montreal. He failed to score in the fifth game of the Final, the game that won the Leafs the Cup on Bill Barilko's OT winner. 1939, Gord Drillon scored in five straight to open the playoffs against New York Americans and Detroit Red Wings. Nylander has equalled the playoff-opening run in 1986 of rookie Wendel Clark who scor

The Myth of the North Division

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The North Division is weak. That's what many hockey fans would have you believe as the 2020/21 NHL season drew to an end. It's a sentiment mainly directed at the Maple Leafs and their franchise record Points Percentage of .688. The belief is that the division was extra weak at the bottom end with Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa. Truth be told, the last place Canucks have a higher points percentage than the last team in all other divisions.  A simple way to compare the divisons is to narrow down the record of the playoff qualifying teams between themselves, thus eliminating the weaker non-playoff teams. If we look at each division's standings based on games against ONLY playoff teams, we get the following. As shown above, Toronto ends up with the second highest points percentage against playoff teams, just behind Carolina. Does this illustrate the fact that the Leafs are just that much better than the rest of their division, even the other playoff teams? Critics could point to

Maple Leaf For A Game; Bill Johansen

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  I am currently reading the book, "Voices in Blue and White" by the fantastic author Kevin Shea. He chronicles the 'pride and passion for the Maple Leafs' in interviews with literally hundreds of players. Most are quick little stories, like this one about Bill Johansen ('Red' Johnson) talking about his one and only Maple Leaf appearance; " I was playing centre for the Marlie Seniors. One Saturday night, they called me up to the Leafs because Ted Kennedy had gotten hurt. (On November 26, 1949), I played between Bill Ezinicki and Harry Watson. I thought we did pretty well, but we got beat by Boston, 3-0. The team was getting dressed to make a train to Chicago when Mr. Smythe walked into the room, pointed at me and said to the others, "How can you let a young kid like this skate rings around you?"I figured this meant I would be going with them, that I had made the team, so I was really excited. Then coach Hap Day came over and told me I wouldn'

1956 Maple Leaf Gardens 25th Anniversary Program

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I picked this up recently, a program that I've been after for quite a while. It was issued at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1956 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the grand building. The magazine is chock full of stories about the history of the Gardens and the Maple Leafs. Fantastic drawing of Maple Leaf kingpin Conn Smythe. The story of the longest overtime game in Maple Leafs history, a mark that still stands. Nice photo of Foster Hewitt's original broadcast gondola. The Queen!  

Maple Leafs shutout same opponent back to back; First time since 1954.

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The Maple Leafs are simply eating up the North Division of this strange season of NHL hockey. They shut out the Edmonton Oilers in back to back games, this is the first time they have shut out the same opponent in consecutive regular season games since doing it to the Detroit Red Wings in November, 1954. On November 11, 1954 at the Olympia in Detroit the Leafs beat the Red Wings 1-0. Harry Lumley (on his 28th birthday) turned aside 45 Detroit shots and Sid Smith scored in the last minute of the second period. This was the first Toronto win in Detroit in 13 games, dating back to November 1952. Al Nickleson of the Globe and Mail described the frantic finish; "Leafs had plenty of trouble getting the puck out of their own end. They practically were skating on their knees, they were so tired from two games in as many nights. But they were dead game." November 13 saw the same 1-0 victory for Toronto again on a goal from Sid Smith, this time in the first minute of the final frame. T

First 300 games as a Maple Leaf; Most Goals

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Recently, Mitchell Marner recorded his 300th career point. He is the third fastest Maple Leaf (among those whose career began in Toronto) to the plateau. His 307 career games is bested by only Charlie Conacher's 294 games and Syl Apps' 284 games. His linemate Auston Matthews should soon get to 300 in less games than Marner as he sits at 293 points in 289 career games. He should even be able to do it faster than  Conacher by collecting at least 7 points in his next 10 games.  Seeing as Matthews is approaching his 300th career game, I decided to see where he ranks in Leaf history for goals scored over the first 300 games of a career. The leaders are as follows;   Papi is in some fantastic company among Maple Leaf franchise legends. Personally, I don't believe he has even peaked yet. If Matthews produces at even close to this level for the next decade, he's likely to shatter most franchise scoring marks. This list above includes ONLY players who began their careers with To

The Future of the NHL...in 1958

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I recently found an interesting article in an April 1958 issue of Hockey Blueline magazine. It is an interview with New York Rangers General Manager, Muzz Patrick in which he predicts what the future of hockey will look like in the distant future of 1978. Firstly, Patrick discusses the potential of expansion by the NHL; "I'd say that Los Angeles and San Francisco are the most likely cities to join the NHL in an eight-team league. They're building an 18,000 seat arena in Los Angeles now. That is the primary consideration. You must have an arena with a minimum of 12,000 seats. But more than that may be necessary to pay travelling expenses to the Coast." The Los Angeles Kings and Oakland Seals would of course join the NHL as part of a six team expansion in 1967, perhaps a little later than Patrick predicted. The Seals would remain only until 1976 and the Bay Area would be without an NHL team until the San Jose Sharks joined the league in 1991. Next, the Rangers GM talks