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From the Branches: Game 3 is upon us

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It’s time to break the series tie.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

By the end of today, either the Toronto Maple Leafs will be one win away from moving on to the first round (in which case, I will have a celebratory margarita) or the Columbus Blue Jackets will be one win away from moving on to the first round (in which case, I will have an absolutely-in-no-way-celebratory margarita). Isn’t it great to have playoff hockey back? I am feeling in no way stressed out about launching back into caring about the Leafs via a five-game series, like tension was something the NHL playoffs was missing in the first place.

Game 3 is an 8pm start in Toronto (which will tonight be standing in for Columbus, Ohio, something I’m guaranteed to forget unless I hear that goddamned cannon). The Leafs will have to play without Jake Muzzin, who is thankfully out of the hospital but ruled out for the remainder of the qualifying round series.

NHL Games Today

Canucks @ Wild, Game 3 (series tied 1-1), 2:30pm ET | NHLN, NHL.TV, SN, FS-N

Capitals @ Flyers, 4pm ET | NBCSN, NHL.TV, TVAS, SN360, NBCSP, NBCSWA

Golden Knights @ Blues, 6:30pm ET | NHLN, NHL.TV, SN360, FS-MW, ATTSN-RM

Maple Leafs @ Blue Jackets, Game 3 (series tied 1-1), 8pm ET | NBCSN, TVAS, SN, FS-O

Flames @ Jets, Game 4 (Flames lead 2-1), 10:30pm ET | CNBC, NHL.TV, TVAS, SN

ICYMI

Maple Leafs Jake Muzzin out for the rest of the Qualifying Round - Pension Plan Puppets
After a collision in Game 2, Muzzin won’t play again in the Qualifying Round

Winners and Losers from Game 2: Morgan Rielly is having an elite playoffs - Pension Plan Puppets
And the goals come in for Auston and JT.

Stuff We Didn’t Write

New Toronto drive-in aims to quench thirst of Raptors and Leafs fans, hold a few concerts | Times Colonist
TORONTO — Sports fans can't pack into arenas this summer, but a new Toronto drive-in theatre hopes to get them a bit closer to the action.

Gritty the Maple Leafs' mascot? This parody account has gone too far | NBC Sports Philadelphia
To whoever did this ... we just want to talk.

As the coronavirus-modified NHL playoffs unfold, the key to success is all in the players’ heads | The Star
Players and coaches are navigating unprecedented playoffs after four and a half months away from the action.

OHL waiting until December to start 2020-21 season | The Star
The OHL says it hopes to play a 64-game season, four fewer games than usual, despite starting more than two months later than its traditional late Sep...

Down Goes Brown: A fan’s guide to how worried you should be after four days

Since announcing team name, the Seattle Kraken’s business is soaring | The Star
This article answers a very important question: is the team going to form a sponsorship deal with the rum brand? (The answer is yes)

Maple Leafs' task gets tougher with Muzzin out for Blue Jackets series - Sportsnet.ca
The Maple Leafs will be relieved by the latest news on Jake Muzzin, but his injury means Toronto will be without a key player for the remainder of its qualifying-round series – a large absence to overcome.

We’ll have a preview of Game 3 out for you later this morning. Go Leafs Go.