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From the Branches: Toronto fights Montreal at every level tonight

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The Maple Leafs, the Marlies, and the Furies are all playing against Montreal teams or their affiliates

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NHL: Nashville Predators at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlies are back in Toronto after a weeks of away games while Ricoh Coliseum was turned over the animals for the Royal Winter Fair.

Tonight is our meetup at the game. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Now if you excuse me, I have to get things ready for my Magical Marlies Meetup pre-party!

(It’s actually Saturday. Don’t panic. You do not need to go to work.)

Email me if you need an invitation. My doors open at 1:00 (except the door containing JvR which will remain locked).

Patience still the key with Kasperi Kapanen after hot start - MLHS
It has indeed been a big step forward for Kapanen after a rookie year of highs, lows and inconsistent play overall.

Strong showing from Leafs rookies stokes hopes for playoffs - Mirtle
The “P” word made a rare appearance in the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room on Thursday night.

Leafs have respect for Price, the goalie "gold standard” - TSN
That intimidating force is back. Price, 29, is healthy and as good as ever.

Down Goes Brown Grab Bag - Vice
Trolling Penguins, Marketing Mishaps, and French Lessons

Why did the Wild send Eriksson Ek to Sweden? Follow the money. - Hockey Wilderness
While development is certainly a factor in sending JEE to Sweden, there are salary cap benefits for Minnesota.

This isn’t the John Tortorella that Rangers fans remember - NY Post
“SAFE IS DEATH” is the motto Tortorella espoused in Tampa Bay but when the coach arrived on Broadway, things had changed.

How Carl Hagelin and Patric Hornqvist became best friends - Pensburgh
[Species: It happened while they were hot and sweaty in the gym and hit the showers together. The first part happened. That last part may or may not have happened.]

Canucks are in for a big change, but no one knows exactly what kind - G&M
Team management believed they had improved the roster this past summer but now, as widely predicted, the Canucks are one of the worst teams in the NHL.

Pay cuts leave NWHL players reeling - The Ice Garden
“When you’re told there is going to be a pay cut, it’s heartbreaking,” said Kaleigh Fratkin of the New York Riveters.

Marian Hossa’s controversial goal lifts Blackhawks to 3-2 win over Flames - G&M
While replays showed it might have been a high stick from the veteran Blackhawks forward, Flames coach Glen Gulutzan was unable to challenge the call due to having using his time out earlier in the period.

The Marlies kick off a weekend back-to-back vs. the St, John’s Ice Caps at 5:00PM at Ricoh Coliseum.

The Maple Leafs are in Montreal to play the Canadiens at 7:00PM on Hockey Night in Canada.

The Furies will play les Canadiennes at the Master Card Centre at 8:00PM.

Let’s get the hat-trick sweep, ladies and gentleman!