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From the Branches: Dat third Atlantic playoff spot

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With three games in hand, Leafs could catch Boston for the third spot in the Atlantic.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

This morning while driving to work I listened to the Leafs Report. All 20 minutes of the ride consisted of James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel kvelling mercilessly about Auston Matthews. Siegel’s premise was, “Some people just don’t know how amazingly good Auston Matthews is,” and they discussed how all of the hype going into the draft might not have been over-exaggeration. It was a fun inversion of the “I will debunk this player’s myth” trope into “I will build this player’s myth,” and as an Auston Matthews liker, I appreciated it.

On to the...

Leafs News

Vancouver Canucks Need to Mirror Toronto Maple Leafs Plan | The Canuck Way
Step one: Back a truckload of money up to the house of a good coach.

Mythbusters Series: Disproving the idea that Steven Stamkos “left millions on the table” to re-sign in Tampa | MLHS
Eh? Someone actually thought this? I guess they don’t have as many tax accountants on their site as PPP does.

Ovechkin scores in OT; Capitals come back to beat Maple Leafs | Sportsnet
High scoring games will never survive a good coach: "Neither Washington’s Barry Trotz nor Toronto’s Mike Babcock was pleased with his team’s fundamentals, even if the entertainment factor was off the charts."

Maple Leafs blow three leads, lose to Capitals in OT | Toronto Sun
“It’s the same old story,” Matthews said. “We have to clean it up. It’s very unacceptable to continue to go down that road where we play well in the first, second periods, get leads and kind of explode. It’s something we want to clean up.

Maple Leafs bring back the past to inspire young lineup | USA Today
Cuteness: "Excuse me, Mr. Sittler, could you sign this?" the 19-year-old asked. Dressed in a blue No. 27 Maple Leafs jersey with the familiar "C'' on his chest, Darryl Sittler happily obliged, writing his name in silver on the blade of Marner's stick.

The League

Blue Jackets extend streak to 16 | Omnisport
Screamface emoji: "The Blue Jackets are one win away from tying the NHL record of 17 consecutive wins."

Sergei Bobrovsky named NHL Player of the Month | NHL
Bob!

NHL reveals captains for 2017 All-Star game | Omnisport
"Pittsburgh' Sidney Crosby, Montreal's Carey Price, Edmonton's Connor McDavid and Nashville's P.K. Subban were voted by fans to helm their respective divisions during the NHL's three-on-three tournament later this month in Los Angeles."

NHL 100: Gretzky trade, Orr goal among most memorable | CBC
"Over 100 years of NHL history there are simply too many pivotal moments to count. Here are just a few that stood out for us as the league kicks off its centennial celebrations."

Nominations open for Kraft Hockeyville USA | NHL
I think it should be Brampton.