Happy Friday!

James van Riemsdyk scored fifteen goals during the production of this article. The Leafs have today off, but will return to the Air Canada Centre to play the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night. Tomas Plekanec is bound to score his first goal as a Leaf against his former team. Meanwhile, the Marlies are on the road to take on the Belleville Senators tonight.

Here are today’s links:

In Case You Missed It

Recap: Maple Leafs lazily beat the Sabres 5-2- Katya Knappe

The Leafs beat the Sabres last night, and James van Riemsdyk earned himself another three point night. Visit last night’s game recap and share your thoughts in the comments.

Marlies recap: Garret Sparks is the winningest goalie in franchise history after 4-1 victory over Laval- Hardev Lad

The Marlies played Montreal’s farm team on Monday, and Hardev recaps the game nicely. I also watched this game, and I thought Liljegren was outstanding. He looked extremely comfortable quarterbacking the powerplay, and while he was held off the scoresheet, this is one of the better games that I’ve seen him play this year. He made an abundance of smart and quick passes, and barely spent any time in his own end as a result. I’ve been looking for more from Liljegren recently, and he certainly stepped up in this game.

The Marlies will be able to fix their powerplay down the stretch if they revolve everything around Jeremy Bracco. His playmaking ability makes him look like Mitch Marner on the powerplay:

I expect Bracco to be a big scorer for the Marlies down the stretch. They could use a better powerplay, but their defence is amazing.

Six in Five: It’s taken weeks to get here, and the Leafs nearly made their quota- Katya Knappe

There’s a couple of terrific visuals in this post, which spotlight the Leafs trends this season.

From the Branches

OHL Announcer 2017-2018 Coaches Poll Winners- Ontario Hockey League

Eemeli Rasanen, Keaton Middleton, and Ryan McGregor were all recognized in the OHL coaches poll. Aidan Dudas, who was ranked the most underrated player in the Western Conference, would be a strong pick for the Leafs in the middle rounds.

Despite leading his team in scoring as a 17-year old defenceman, Ryan Merkley was not voted one of the best offensive defencemen in his conference. I’d love to see him somehow fall to the Leafs.

Tampa Bay Lightning 10 game stats report: A struggling goalie and a Ranger reborn- Loserpoints, Raw Charge

Get to know this division rival, who the Leafs will probably have to beat on their way to the Stanley Cup. This is an excellent article.

Leafs Geeks Podcast- 2018 Draft Targets- Ian Tulloch, Maple Leafs Nation

This podcast provides a strong overview of many of the prospects who could be available when the Leafs pick in this year’s draft. If you love the draft, give this a listen.

Andreas Johnsson looks a heck of a lot like an NHLer- Jeff Veillette, Faceoff Circle

I was excited to see Johnsson’s debut on Wednesday night, and he showcased his strong work ethic in the few minutes that he played. It’s too bad that he missed half of the first period with an injury. I don’t see him becoming a top six scorer, but I am hopeful that he can become a solid secondary scoring option next season.

These Raptors might be real and only getting better- Zach Lowe, ESPN

This article is a couple of days old, but it’s a good one. Lowe goes in-depth on Toronto’s offence, which is finally starting to play a smarter playing style this season. It’s an exciting time to be a Toronto sports fan.

Enjoy your Friday!