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From the Branches: Third in Atlantic

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NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Leafs News

Toronto Maple Leafs: Lamoriello is Set on the Plan and You Should Be Too | Editor in Leaf
I love imperative statements as article headlines. I always want to do the exact opposite. "From a critical point of view however, the Leafs should really stick to the plan, like how Lou reiterated, and not sell the farm like many fans are pushing for. Why you may ask?"

IS THERE A REASON THAT THE LEAFS KEEP LOSING IN THE SHOOTOUT? | THE LEAFS NATION
"If we're being honest about things, Frederik Andersen hasn't been good at this skills competition this year."

Maple Leafs' dressing room is more relaxed | Toronto Sun
“When you’re in the (playoff) mix it changes things a lot. This time last year it was a pretty big mountain to climb as far as getting back in. Obviously, we’re right there and the options shift a bit. If you’re experienced, you just learn not to worry, just come to the rink and play.”

Maple Leafs slim favourites hosting Canadiens on Saturday | Sportsnet
"The Maple Leafs saw a two-game winning streak halted with Thursday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers as slim -106 home chalk, but they have surrendered just five total goals in regulation time over their past three games after giving up 11 markers in their previous two outings."

Slumping Canadiens hoping to end goal drought against Maple Leafs | Globe and Mail
"The goals have all but dried up for the Montreal Canadiens but they hope to break the drought when they visit the sometimes defensively suspect Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night." Stay dry, Habs.

Poor Habs.

Maple Leafs' veterans learning how to win consistently | Toronto Sun
“Most of the (young guys) have been in lots of playoff races,” Babcock noted on Friday. “It was just at a different level. They’re used to winning. The only guys who aren’t used to it are those who’ve been here for awhile. They have to get used to winning.

Read the whole Babcock transcript at MLHS:

Mike Babcock on the rookies’ response to the playoff race | MLHS
"I didn’t think our veteran guys up front last night were near as good as they normally are, so we need them to be better. They were dominant for us the other night in Carolina and good again the other night. That line wasn’t as good last night and neither was Naz’s group that’s been dominant for us. It wasn’t quite the same."

Maple Leafs' rookie record holder Ihnacak reflects on escaping Iron Curtain | Toronto Sun
“They weren’t letting me go with the Czechoslovakian national team to the Canada Cup or the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. I had two sisters who had already got away (right after the Russians crushed the short-lived Prague Spring of 1968) and my brother John was living in New York City.”

Happy Saturday, y’all!