Maple Leafs clinch playoff berth on the abet of Matthews, Marner

The Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a berth within the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday when they defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. 

The Maple Leafs (47-19-6) hold taken support of ancient seasons from center Auston Matthews and forward Mitchell Marner, serving to them to the second-most targets scored within the NHL at 275 and second set apart within the Atlantic Division. Toronto has reached the 100-level label for the sixth time in its history and are five parts jumpy of matching its file of 105 parts in 2017-18.

The Maple Leafs hold no longer evolved previous the important thing spherical of the playoffs since 2004 and hold misplaced seven consecutive postseason games when they’d a likelihood to attain away with their opponent.

Matthews, a possible finalist within the voting for the Hart Trophy as NHL most treasured participant, has region NHL profession highs in targets (58), assists (41) and parts (99) in 67 games to lead Toronto. Marner has scored 90 parts (31 targets, 59 assists) in 63 games. His function total surpasses his outdated NHL high of 26 in 82 games in 2018-19, and he’s four parts from matching his NHL profession high of 94 within the the same season.

The linemates might per chance became the important thing teammates to attain 100 parts within the the same season in Maple Leafs history. Toronto had no longer had a participant attain 100 parts in a season since Doug Gilmour scored 111 parts (27 targets, 84 assists) in 1993-94.

The Maple Leafs added depth when they obtained defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin in a replace with the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 19 and defenseman Trace Giordano and forward Colin Blackwell in a replace with the Seattle Kraken on March 20.

Toronto is missing three customary gamers to harm, which might per chance play a part. 

Defenseman Rasmus Sandin, who has scored 16 parts (five targets, 11 assists) and is plus-9 in 51 games, has been out since March 19 with a knee harm, and forward Ondrej Kase, who has scored 27 parts (14 targets, 13 assists) in 50 games and has been efficient on particular groups, has been out since March 19 with a head harm. There might be never a timeline for a return for both participant. Goalie Petr Mrazek sustained a groin harm on March 29 and became once expected to miss out on no longer lower than six weeks.

That is a hold a look on the Maple Leafs’ path to a playoff berth:

Most Treasured Participant: Matthews eclipsed Rick Vaive’s file for many targets in a single season in Toronto history. Vaive had held the file of 54, region in 1981-82, until Matthews scored his 55th function in a 4-3 overtime take on the Dallas Stars on Thursday. The 24-year-ancient won the Rocket Richard Trophy closing season as the NHL’s top function-scorer with 41, might per chance became the third participant to rating 60 targets since 2005-06, joining Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (65 in 2007-08) and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (60 in 2011-12).

Unsung Hero: Forward Michael Bunting has seamlessly filled the void on a line with Matthews and Marner left by Zach Hyman, who signed a seven-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers on July 28, 2021. Bunting has scored 57 parts (20 targets, 37 assists) and is plus-26 in 72 games, leading all beginners in scoring.

Memorable 2nd: Matthews scored his 50th function of the season in a 7-3 take towards the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Arena on March 31. He grew to became the important thing Maple Leafs participant to rating 50 targets in a season since Dave Andreychuk scored 53 in 1993-94. The function came at 17: 54 of the third interval into an empty web. 

Matthews acknowledged scoring that milestone function became once particular; with Toronto region to embark on a four-sport avenue day out, chants of “We Need 50” poured down from the team at some level of the sport. The fans prolonged the ovation, throwing hats and T-shirts onto the ice.

“That’s a dapper crowd making the second closing quite of longer than just a few seconds,” Giordano acknowledged. “It became once icy to be part of (that).”

Video: [email protected]: Matthews ratings No. 50 into empty Jets web

Key Quantity: 29.4. That’s the Maple Leafs’ energy play percentage, easiest within the NHL.

Ask Trace: Goaltending depth. Jack Campbell has region an NHL profession high in wins with 27, 10 more than his outdated profession high from closing season. But he allowed no longer lower than four targets in six of eight begins earlier than missing 10 games with a rib harm. With Mrazek unavailable, Toronto is left with 25-year ancient rookie Erik Kallgren as the next option on the abet of Campbell heading into the playoffs.

Reason Maple Leafs Can Resolve It All: With Matthews and Marner, the Maple Leafs hold two of the most dynamic offensive gamers within the NHL. Matthews has scored 51 targets in his previous 50 games and Marner has scored 67 parts (24 targets, 43 assists) in his previous 36 games, even though each and each faces stress to augment on his most modern playoff performances.

Marner has no longer scored in his previous 18 playoff games and Matthews became once held to 1 function in seven games towards the Montreal Canadiens closing season and has three in his previous 12 playoff games over the last two seasons.

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