Taking part in in distinctive prerequisites, Toronto Maple Leafs ranking two SH …

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Kristen Shilton

TSN Toronto Maple Leafs Reporter

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About Playing
Play is a range of intrinsically motivated activities done for recreational pleasure and enjoyment. Play is commonly associated with children and juvenile-level activities, but play occurs at any life stage, and among other higher-functioning animals as well, most notably mammals.
Many prominent researchers in the field of psychology, including Melanie Klein, Jean Piaget, William James, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Lev Vygotsky have viewed play as confined to the human species, believing play was important for human development and using different research methods to prove their theories.
Play is often interpreted as frivolous; yet the player can be intently focused on their objective, particularly when play is structured and goal-oriented, as in a game. Accordingly, play can range from relaxed, free-spirited and spontaneous through frivolous to planned or even compulsive. Play is not just a pastime activity; it has the potential to serve as an important tool in numerous aspects of daily life for adolescents, adults, and cognitively advanced non-human species (such as primates). Not only does play promote and aid in physical development (such as hand-eye coordination), but it also aids in cognitive development and social skills, and can even act as a stepping stone into the world of integration, which can be a very stressful process. Play is something that most children partake in, but the way play is executed is different between cultures and the way that children engage with play varies universally.

Playing in unique conditions, Toronto Maple Leafs score two SH …

About unique
Unique is lindi primarily refers to:

Uniqueness, a state or condition wherein something is unlike anything else
In mathematics and logic, a unique object is the only object with a certain property, see Uniqueness quantificationUnique may also refer to:

TORONTO — In over 100 years of rivalry, the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens had never played a game like Tuesday’s.

For one thing, Montreal was the home team – in Toronto’s building. For another, the exhibition game, a precursor to the NHL’s 24-team playoff tournament opening this weekend, was happening on a summer night in late July.

Playing in unique conditions, Toronto Maple Leafs score two SH …

Then there were the empty stands at Scotiabank Arena, completely devoid of fans and ensuing crowd noise. The Canadian anthem played into a void. What scattered media and league staff members were in attendance could hear practically every word coming from the ice, colourful language and all.

What didn’t change was the action between whistles, an occasionally heated battle amongst divisional foes that ended in a 4-2 Toronto victory.

“During the anthem was probably the moment where for me it was the most noticeable, the fact that there was no fans and you have a little moment there,” said Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe on a Zoom call after the win. “During the anthem is a time when you’re looking at the flag and you’re kind of taking in the whole environment and of course, it’s much different today than what you’re accustomed to. It’s a time when you really feel the moment, but once the puck dropped, from my perspective, it really just felt like hockey.”

Toronto was powered by a pair of goals from Alex Kerfoot and a strong penalty kill against the Canadiens, in the lone exhibition match they’ll see before a Stanley Cup qualifier series starts Sunday against Columbus.

While the X’s and O’s were important to get down in Tuesday’s outing, it was also a chance for players to wrap their head around what a difference the new-look rink will make to their games.

“There’s a lot of stuff set up in terms of the stage and the screens and what’s going on there,” said Leafs captain John Tavares. “Visually, I think getting your depth perception and all that stuff [figured out] from what you’re kind of used to.There’s things you’re used to hearing that you’re not. But overall, I think we feel there’s a lot that’s been put into this. It was just a whole lot of fun; there was a lot of energy within our group all day long, and throughout the game on the bench.”

To that end, the Leafs didn’t take long to get rolling. Just 33 seconds into the opening frame, a two-on-one chance for Tavares and Ilya Mikheyev produced Mikheyev’s first NHL goal since Dec. 27.

That game was also the last time Mikheyev suited up for the Leafs, a span of 214 days. Toronto was visiting New Jersey that night when late in the third period, the rookie had tendons and a ligament in his wrist severed by Jesper Bratt’s skate blade. Following surgery and extensive rehab, Mikheyev had been primed to return to the Leafs’ lineup right when the NHL hit pause amid the global COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March.

Kerfoot’s first goal of the night, a shorthanded tally set up beautifully by Kasperi Kapanen, had Toronto ahead 2-0 early in the second. Keefe said that the delayed reaction by the officials to the goal would probably have been remedied by more bodies in the building, joking that “the fans would have probably called that one for us.”

Tomas Tatar responded for Montreal shortly after to pull the home team within one, but Kerfoot came back with another goal, teed up by a terrific Morgan Rielly pass, and the Leafs carried a 3-1 advantage into the third.

Montreal would cut into that lead again though, when Paul Byron scored in the final frame just as a penalty to Mikheyev was expiring. But the penalty kill redeemed itself with another shorthanded goal, this one from Rielly, to seal the victory for Toronto and help Rielly finish with a three-point night.

“Today was really good [for the kill],” Keefe said. “And I thought, those two guys [Rielly and Kerfoot] carried on to [strong] five-on-five play as well. It’s as good as we’ve seen Kerf play, and that’s a really healthy sign for our team, obviously. If we can get he and Kapanen going like they were today, that makes us a tough team to handle and that’s really good for us.”

Other than Mikheyev, the only other first-year in Toronto’s lineup was Nick Robertson, the 18-year-old OHL phenom who put up 55 goals and 86 points with the Peterborough Petes during the 2019-20 campaign.

Keefe said on Monday that Robertson was the one “they’d had their eye on” throughout Phase 3’s training camp, a wild card needing to be assessed before a final decision was made on his preparedness for a real playoff game.

Robertson was given top-nine billing on the Leafs’ third line with Kerfoot and Kapanen, and Keefe slotted him onto Toronto’s second power play unit. But Robertson’s NHL exhibition experience got off to an inauspicious start, when the teen was called for holding midway through the first period.

The freshman did find his way to the right side of the scoresheet eventually, earning a secondary assist on Kerfoot’s second goal.

“I thought he had some great sequences,” said Keefe. “It was good to see him play with some confidence with the puck. I thought he had some shifts where he was noticeable in a positive way, and that’s really good to see.”

Keefe was non-committal on what exactly that means for Robertson, whether he’ll remain in the Leafs’ lineup come Sunday’s opener against Columbus or if the more experienced Pierre Engvall might slide onto the line as he did in the third period Tuesday when Montreal pulled within one.

“We’re going to continue to just digest all of this here over the next few days,” Keefe said. “I wouldn’t make any assumptions on Nick or some of the other positions in our lineup, because we just haven’t made the decisions ourselves.”

With several days remaining before their next game action, the Leafs will take what they learned about themselves – and about the new normal of the NHL – and apply it to their next great challenge: winning in a playoff series.

“Overall we were happy with it [tonight],” said Rielly. “The outcome it what you want but I think anytime you play any kind of preseason game like this, there’s going to be some kinks to work out. I think it’s a little bit different when you prepare for a week for a playoff team in the Blue Jackets and then play a team that’s not them, what you talked about in practice is hard to execute but we’ll take the win.”