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From the Branches: Halfway there

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It’s going to be playoff time before we know it.

Winnipeg Jets v Toronto Maple Leafs
Look at this reverse Titanic action.
Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

Yesterday’s game was the halfway mark of the season, so we are officially now closer to the playoffs than the season opener, because that’s what “halfway” means. Auston Matthews made sure that we marked the occasion with a win—everyone should feel free to watch the OT goal one or five or thirty-four more times:

Another angle? Sure, why not!

This is an excellent way to end a week, and I’d like to encourage the Maple Leafs to do this more, instead of, you know, the other thing.

ICYMI

Game Recap: Toronto Maple Leafs win in OT despite some amazing goaltending by Hellebuyck - Pension Plan Puppets
Hellebuyck stole the show, Matthews wins it in overtime

Maple Leafs make a roster swap of their depth - Pension Plan Puppets
Joseph Woll has not gone all the way to the Marlies, just the Taxi Squad. [Editor’s note: Leafs buried the lede, the real news is Nick Robertson is on the Taxi Squad.]

Maple Leafs Roster Report: 4th line change - Pension Plan Puppets
Not much is new after a practice day and an optional skate.

Stuff We Didn’t Write

San Jose Sharks prospect Ivan Chekhovich to return from KHL - Fear The Fin
The winger took his development to Russia, but a post-season loss has made him available for a return to San Jose.

Jordan Binnington, Blues agree to contract extension - St. Louis Game Time
It’s a mid-season surprise!

Senators president of business operations Anthony LeBlanc looks forward to welcoming back fans | Hockey | Sports | The Journal Pioneer
It hasn’t been business as usual since Anthony LeBlanc joined the Ottawa Senators last April.

Analyzing three Maple Leafs trade targets and their fit with the team
The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be aggressive on the trade market this year and with just five games in their next 14 days, a window may be opening to make a move. We get into the numbers to look at how three targets in particular would fit with the group.

Down Goes Brown: The Athletic Hockey Show: The NHL changes the channel

Toronto Maple Leafs Musings: In defense of Frederik Andersen

Joe Thornton keeping things light as Toronto Maple Leafs struggle through slump - TSN.ca

Kiefer Sherwood proving to be a solid depth option for the Colorado Avalanche - Mile High Hockey
Players like Sherwood could be valuable as the season moves on

Sheldon Keefe on the team's response to the three-game losing skid: "I don't think there is any sense of panic here" | Maple Leafs Hotstove

Jesperi Kotkaniemi is showing increased confidence - Eyes On The Prize
Some people have been asking Kotkaniemi to shoot more, and he obliged them.

Ontario sport minister confident OHL will play games in 2021
TORONTO — Ontario's sport minister is optimistic the Ontario Hockey League will get approval to stage a 2021 season during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lisa MacLeod says she's "feeling great" about the OHL's chances of playing games.