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Rielly Ready To Return, Marner Close; Leafs Sign NCAA Free Agent Quillan

April 2, 2024, 8:02 PM ET [223 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs proved they can beat the Florida Panthers when they stand up to them and they can get their speed game going to create some offense, but the question is whether what they did in a 6-4 win at Scotiabank Arena on Monday is something that will occur in the postseason less than three weeks from now.

Auston Matthews scored twice, setting a new Leafs franchise record at 62 goals, Nick Robertson, Tyler Bertuzzi, David Kampf, and Matthew Knies scored for Toronto, and Ilya Samsonov was spectacular at times and made 26 saves in the win, but the Leafs as they usually do made it interesting, allowing the Panthers to score three times in the third period to narrow the lead to one before Matthews scored into the empty net.

“There are things in there that I don’t like in terms of how we stopped moving the puck with any sort of efficiency. We just kind of lost our energy. We lost what we had going well for us in the second period,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game. “I don’t like it, but it is hard for me to put myself in their shoes up four goals in game #74 and you’re getting ready for game #75. We did enough good things through two periods to be able to have enough of a cushion to afford it, but obviously, you don’t like it.”

The victory narrows the Panthers hold on second place to four points and the Bruins division lead to six, with Toronto having a game in hand. The Leafs take on Tampa Bay on Wednesday and Keefe indicated on Tuesday that Morgan Rielly will return against the Lightning, but that Mitch Marner is likely targeting Saturday in Montreal for his return.

The Maple Leafs announced on Monday that they have signed center Jacob Quillan to a two-year, entry-level contract, beginning next season.

The 22-year-old native of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia played three seasons for Quinnipiac University and scored the game-winning overtime goal to beat Matthew Knies and the University of Minnesota for the NCAA Championship last season.

Quillan had 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists) in his junior season, and according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, he was pursued heavily by a number of NHL teams.

The undrafted free agent has the size ( 6’0”, 201-pound) and skating ability capable of playing in the NHL, and is equally adept in the offensive and defensive zones. Quillan will join the AHL Toronto Marlies for the remainder of the regular season on an amateur tryout contract and it is expected that he will compete for an NHL job next season.


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