Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews taking quantum leap with record start

TORONTO – The way last season ended did not sit well with Auston Matthews. There was the seven-game series loss to Boston in the opening round, but also an uncharacteristic dry spell in the spring. For the first time as an NHLer – perhaps the first time in his life – Matthews saw his play come under intense question and scrutiny. He had a terse exchange or two in front of the cameras. In the big picture, it was no big deal. All of it was perfectly understandable in the context of professional sports. But for Matthews it was a reminder that there was still room for growth; still steps… Read More

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Maple Leafs’ Kapanen proving he belongs in top-six role

TORONTO – As the young, freewheeling Toronto Maple Leafs core cleared out their lockers in the spring of 2017, disappointed yet encouraged by the first of many trips to the post-season since winning the Auston Matthews lottery, we shared a few minutes with a quiet Kasperi Kapanen — the only tangible asset remaining from those scorched-earth, multi-player trades of Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel. Kapanen, a late-March AHL call-up that spring, had impressed as a fourth-line energy guy in that six-game, nail-biting series against the Washington Capitals. He scored twice in Game 2, including the double-OT winner. As he packed his bags, we asked him if he could envision cracking… Read More

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Canadiens’ Tomas Tatar opening eyes with hot start

MONTREAL — In this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, it was easy for Montreal Canadiens fans to overlook what their team acquired in Tomas Tatar when general manager Marc Bergevin traded former captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights on Sept. 10. The focus was on 19-year-old centre Nick Suzuki back then and rightly so, with Bergevin referring to the 11th overall pick at the 2017 NHL Draft as the key piece to the deal that included Tatar and a 2019 second-round pick coming back to Montreal. An A-level prospect, who’s at worst a year away from starting what promises to be a bright NHL career, was a must to obtain in… Read More

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Plekanec wasn’t expecting standing ovation for 1,000th game

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Brewers blank Dodgers in Game 3 of NLCS to take series lead

LOS ANGELES — Jhoulys Chacin combined with four relievers on a five-hitter, Orlando Arcia hit a two-run homer and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 on Monday to take a 2-1 lead in the NL Championship Series. Los Angeles loaded the bases against Jeremy Jeffress in the ninth inning, but the struggling closer shut the door. He struck out Yasmani Grandal and pinch-hitter Brian Dozier to complete Milwaukee’s third shutout in six playoff games this year. Game 4 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, with left-hander Rich Hill pitching for Los Angeles. The Brewers had yet to announce a starter. Ryan Braun had… Read More

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Plekanec scores in 1,000th NHL game as Canadiens beat Red Wings

MONTREAL — Tomas Plekanec scored in his 1,000th NHL game as the Montreal Canadiens easily defeated the visiting Detroit Red Wings 7-3 on Monday night. Jonathan Drouin had a pair of goals while Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher, Charles Hudon and Paul Byron also scored for the Canadiens (3-1-1). With Carey Price still out with the flu, backup goalie Antti Niemi stopped 25-of-28 shots for his second consecutive victory. if ( “1” == true && ‘undefined’ !== typeof window.getIndexAds ) { var so = {preroll:{1:{1:{siteID:191888},2:{siteID:191889}}}}; adServerUrl = window.getIndexAds( ‘http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=5849182528001&cmsid=384’, so, permalink); } else { adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=5849182528001&cmsid=384”; } $el.after( unescape(“%3Cscript src=”” + (document.location.protocol == “https:” ? “https://sb” : “http://b”) + “.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js”… Read More

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