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From the Branches: Game 1, done

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Well, that sucked.

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The first Maple Leafs game in the 2021 NHL playoffs is over, and as far as hockey games go, it was memorably awful. Mostly, we’re all worried about John Tavares. Not that losing to the Habs is ever a source of light and joy in our lives, but I think right now, it’s taking second place in everyone’s minds. We did get a bit of good news last night via Sheldon Keefe:

Let’s just forget everything about last night’s game, okay? We can collectively strike it from the timeline. I think that’s a good idea.

Elsewhere in the league:

ICYMI

2021 IIHF Men’s World Championships: Maple Leafs prospects and more - Pension Plan Puppets
Parity may have come to international hockey at last.

John Tavares, Corey Perry and Nick Foligno - Pension Plan Puppets
It’s not a joke, more a play in three acts that’s a very human drama.

Maple Leafs lose John Tavares, and Game 1 - Pension Plan Puppets
Hopefully John is okay.

Stuff We Didn’t Write

Maple Leafs-Canadiens playoff matchup a no-fan zone in Toronto, but in Montreal? Maybe not | CBC News
It’s been 42 years since the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens last met in the playoffs. But fans are unlikely to lay their eyes on the two bitter rivals in person when they take the ice in their long-awaited post-season reunion. At least, not in Toronto.

Toronto Marlies end AHL season with 6-3 win over Belleville Senators | The Star
OTTAWA - Gordie Green scored his first American Hockey League goal and Kalle Kossila had three assists as the Toronto Marlies ended their season with ...

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice says losing streak prepared Jets for playoff hockey | The Star
[Editor's note: I am biting my tongue hard enough to draw blood]

Beleaguered Vancouver Canucks looking ahead after season marred by injuries, COVID-19 | The Star
VANCOUVER - After a season punctuated by a COVID-19 outbreak and a grinding schedule, the beleaguered Vancouver Canucks are looking forward.

'I don’t feel the need to protect Auston from anybody' — Leafs coach Keefe gets final word on last change | Edmonton Journal
If they can’t have 19,000 fans pack the house, the Maple Leafs can enjoy the home ice playoff perk of last line change.

The MLHS panel predicts the outcome of the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens series | Maple Leafs Hotstove

Return of the Malk? Geno primes for Game 3 comeback - PensBurgh
Signs are pointing towards Evgeni Malkin coming back tonight to play in Game 3 against the Islanders

PWHPA, NWHL start talking about future of women’s pro hockey | The Star
CALGARY - What it will take to take to get women’s professional hockey in North America out of a “slurve” seems to be more time, talk and trust.

Confidence in Aquilini-run Vancouver Canucks reaching an all-time low - Nucks Misconduct
Never in 15 years of Aquilini ownership have the Canucks endured a season as bad as this.

The Montreal Canadiens’ path to victory is based on showing something new - Eyes On The Prize
If the Canadiens from the regular season show up, it won’t be close.

Davidson returns to Blue Jackets as president of hockey ops | The Star
John Davidson left the Columbus Blue Jackets two years ago for his dream job running the New York Rangers after playing for them decades ago.

The Fourth Line needs to get serious if the B’s want to beat Washington - Stanley Cup of Chowder
It’s time the fourth line got its act together

Down Goes Brown: Every team wants to win. Some teams have to win. It’s the playoff pressure rankings