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From the Branches: Auston Matthews is a Maple Leaf

It's STILL real!

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Auston Matthews

We got him! YAAAAAAY! Shanahan may have even had some divine help.

So now what?

Well, to start, you can listen to Arvind, Scott, and JP Nikota talk about Matthews in this great podcast.

Then read why Arvind thinks this doesn't mean Nylander should move to the wing, or have a laugh with NNU at the expense of all the draft lottery losers, or if he will be the top line center from day 1.

Auston Matthews would take pressure off all Leafs prospects - Shanaplan Debate
The biggest benefit that will come out of the 1st overall pick for the Leafs is that all the pressure and attention will be off of other high-end Leafs prospects.

Are you already tired of reading about Matthews? Then check out Katya's report on what Uncle Leo is up to!

ICYMI: There's another big name joining the Leafs organization, perhaps as soon as Wednesday's Marlies game.

Stanley Cup Playoffs

Blues 4 - Stars 3 (OT)

This was a really great game. One of big stories is Lindy Ruff pulling Lehtonen and putting in Niemi after the Blues scored three times on their first five SOG. Who will start in the next game is a big question.

The Stars had so many chances to win it in OT, but the Blues got lucky with some fantastic saves by Brian Elliot. Then Roussel took a weird interference penalty.

How the Call Against Roussel Demonstrated Every Gray Area - Defending Big D
The interference rule is as clear as mud, and the way the NHL calls it doesn't help matters. So was Roussel guilty in overtime? That all depends on how you interpret some key parts.

On the ensuing power play Tarasenko fired a slapshot that was blocked by Goligoski. He fell to the ice, stunned, and that created a very brief 5 on 3 opening. Backes got it in off a rebound. Oh and it was Backes' birthday too!

Sharks 3 - Predators 2

Sharks vs. Predators, Game 2: Home-Ice Defended - Fear The Fin
Martin Jones made 37 stops and the Sharks defeated the Nashville Predators 3-2 on Sunday night.

Tonight's Game

Tonight we go back to the rough and tumble Capitals @ Penguins series. The game is an unfortunately late 8:00 PM start (WHY?).

Brooks Orpik will not be joining his team for this game because of what he did to Olli Maatta on Saturday.

Brooks Orpik Suspended Three Games - Japers' Rink
Orpik will miss Game 3, 4 and 5 of the series


ICYMI: The Marlies have generously extended a 30% discount for tickets to their home games in the second round. Go here to find the promo code and a link to buy tickets.

Here is the official schedule:

Game 1 – Wed., May 4 – Albany at Toronto, 7:30
Game 2 – Fri., May 6 – Albany at Toronto, 7:30
Game 3 – Sun., May 8 – Toronto at Albany, 5:00
Game 4 – Tue., May 10 – Toronto at Albany, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., May 12 – Toronto at Albany, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 14 – Albany at Toronto, 3:00
*Game 7 – Mon., May 16 – Albany at Toronto, 7:30

Maple Leafs Hot Stove has a series preview here.

The whole first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs wrapped up this weekend. If you would like to peek ahead at which other teams the Marlies could play in the next round, click here to see the official AHL bracket.

I would keep my eye on the Lake Erie Monsters in the Western Conference. They are the Blue Jackets affiliate and are a surprisingly strong team.

Lady Byng Trophy Finalists

Here are the finalists for Viscountess Byng of Vimy the Viceregal Consort of Canada's trophy: Loui Eriksson, Anze Kopitar, Aleksander Barkov

Lady Byng Trophy Finalists - Puck Daddy
The Lady Byng Trophy is given annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability,"

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy Finalists

Jaromir Jagr, Mats Zuccarello, and Pascal Dupuis

Mats Zuccarello Named a Masterton Finalist - Blueshirt Banter

Pascal Dupuis named finalist for 2016 Masterton Trophy - PensBurgh
He embodies everything the trophy is about - of course he's a finalist.

Other News

Amanda Kessel Signs with the New York Riveters - Blueshirt Banter
The standout forward from Minnesota has signed with New York.

Prince Harry to meet politicians, hockey players during tour of Toronto - CBC
HRH will be meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Wynne and Mayor Tory in the morning at the Royal York Hotel to launch the 2017 Invictus Games. In the afternoon, he may even hit the ice at a sledge hockey event at Ryerson's Mattamy Athletic Centre (a.k.a. Maple Leaf Gardens; a.k.a. The Fancy Loblaws) on Carlton Street.

The Rise and Fall of the New York Rangers - Blueshirt Banter
The Rangers were on the verge of taking control of the Eastern Conference just two years ago, now the team is in salary cap hell and trying to figure out which end is up. How did they get to this point?

SOLD OUT: Niagara IceDog tickets gone in minutes - News Talk 610
I hope Eisido got his tickets!

Why Mark Giordano Deserves the Norris - Matchsticks and Gasoline
Mathematically proving that Mark Giordano is better than or at least on the same level as the recently announced Norris nominees

It's a boy!

Welcome Babyhawk. For real this time! 8 pounds and 12 ounces.