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Hurricane Laura Hit Louisiana With Extreme Winds


Note: The maps below are no longer being updated.

Hurricane Laura made landfall in the southwest corner of Louisiana at around 1 am local time on Thursday as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of around 150 mph. It is the strongest storm to hit Louisiana since the Last Island Hurricane of 1856.

Initial reports indicated extensive wind damage in Lake Charles, Louisiana, including high-rise buildings with many of their windows blown out. There was also a major storm surge, in excess of 10 feet in some places, that was still ongoing as of daybreak. However, this seems to have fallen short of the “unsurvivable” surge with highs of up to 20 feet that the National Hurricane Center had predicted on Wednesday.

“Right now I believe we got a break on the storm surge — about half of what was projected,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told CNN on Thursday morning.

By Thursday morning, the governor’s office confirmed the state’s first death, a 14-year-old girl who died after a tree fell on her home. The office stated that more fatalities are expected to be reported.

Laura was the earliest L-named storm recorded in the Atlantic basin. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is currently on track to rival 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, as the busiest on record.

Laura weakened to a tropical storm by Thursday afternoon. You can track the latest forecasts with the maps below.

Forecast track and wind probabilities

This updating map shows the best predicted track and forecast winds from the storm. Use the control at the top right to toggle between the likelihood of tropical-storm-force winds (more than 39 mph) and hurricane-force winds (more than 74 mph).

Forecast track and rain in the next 7 days

This updating map shows the best predicted track Laura superimposed over forecast rain for the next seven days.

“This rainfall will cause widespread flash and urban flooding, small streams and creeks to overflow their banks, and minor to moderate freshwater river flooding,” the NHC warned on Thursday morning.

On Sunday, meteorologists feared that the Gulf Coast could receive an unusual one-two punch from successive hurricanes. Tropical Storm Marco, which passed between Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and Cuba on Saturday, had been expected to make landfall as a hurricane. But it weakened rapidly before making landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Monday.

See the National Hurricane Center’s advisories for more information.





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BLM takes a distorted hit at GOP convention


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican National Convention’s final night heard Black Lives Matter falsely accused of coordinating violent protests, while President Donald Trump related familiar distortions of his record on energy, veterans and more.

A look at some of the rhetoric Thursday from Trump and his supporting speakers:

BLACK LIVES MATTER

RUDY GIULIANI, Trump’s personal attorney and former New York mayor: “Black Lives Matter and antifa sprang into action and, in a flash, they hijacked the peaceful protest into vicious, brutal riots.”

THE FACTS: That’s a hollow claim.

There’s no evidence that Black Lives Matter or antifa, or any political group for that matter, is infiltrating racial injustice protests with violence.

In June, The Associated Press analyzed court records, employment histories and social media posts for 217 people arrested in Minneapolis and the District of Columbia, cities at the center of the protests earlier this year.

More than 85 percent of the people arrested were local residents, and few had affiliation with any organized groups. Social media posts for a few of those arrested indicated they were involved in left-leaning activities while others expressed support for the political right and Trump himself.

Local police departments across the country were forced to knock down widespread social media rumors that busloads of “antifa,” a term for leftist militants, were coming to violently disrupt cities and towns during nationwide racial justice protests. In June, Twitter and Facebook busted accounts linked to white supremacy groups that were promoting some of those falsehoods online.

___

VETERANS

TRUMP: “We also passed VA accountability and VA Choice, our great veterans. We are taking care of our veterans.”

THE FACTS: False. He didn’t get Veterans Choice approved; President Barack Obama did in 2014. Trump expanded it, under a 2018 law known as the MISSION Act. It allows veterans to get health care outside the VA system at public expense under certain conditions.

___

ENERGY

TRUMP, claiming to have “secured for the first time American energy independence.”

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-California: Under Trump, “we … achieved energy independence.”

THE FACTS: This is misleading. The pandemic has severely lessened the demand for crude oil. But through June, the United States was still importing more crude oil than it was selling overseas, according to the Census Bureau.

While the United States has become less reliant on foreign oil, it only produces 11.3 million barrels a day and consumes 18.5 million barrels of liquid fuels daily, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Technological advances like fracking and horizontal drilling have allowed the U.S. to greatly increase production, but the country still imports millions of barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iraq and other countries. One reason is that foreign oil is more affordable. Another is that much of what the U.S. produces is hard for domestic refiners to convert to practical use. So the U.S. exports that production and imports oil that is more suitable for American refineries to handle.

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SEN. TOM COTTON of Arkansas: “Joe Biden sent pallets of cash to the ayatollahs.”

THE FACTS: This is a distorted tale Trump and Republicans loves to tell. Yes, the U.S. flew cash to Iran in the Obama years, but it was money the United States owed to that country.

Cotton is also playing into the convention’s pattern of attributing every action of President Barack Obama’s administration to Biden personally.

___

EDITOR’S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures.

___

Seitz reported from Chicago; Klepper from Providence, Rhode Island.

___

Find AP Fact Checks at http://apnews.com/APFactCheck

Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck





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Masks in Melbourne as Victoria coronavirus cases hit record: Live | News


 

  • The Australian state of Victoria has announced 484 new cases of coronavirus – a daily record – as it becomes mandatory for everyone in the state to wear masks when they leave their homes. 
  • From mask sceptic to champion of face coverings: After months of downplaying their use, United States President Donald Trump has told Americans to wear masks because “they have an impact”. He would “gladly” use one, he added.
  • More than 14.9 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and nearly 616,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the updates:

Wednesday, July 22

05:20 GMT – Some sense trouble as Japan launches domestic tourism campaign

Japan is preparing to launch a controversial domestic tourism campaign that some have dubbed “Go To Trouble”.

The “Go To Travel” initiative is supposed to boost the tourism industry with travel subsidies of up to 50 percent.

But as coronavirus cases surge, travel to and from Tokyo has been removed and politicians elsewhere want the campaign suspended for fear it will spread the virus around the country.

The public is also sceptical with a poll by the Mainichi newspaper showing 69 percent of respondents wanted it cancelled.

03:15 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports another daily record of cases

The Australian state of Victoria has reported a record 484 new cases of coronavirus and two more deaths from the disease – both men in their 90s. 

Masks have been made mandatory in the state and everyone who goes outside must wear one.

People in Melbourne are currently only able to leave their homes for food and essential supplied, medical reasons, exercise and work or education (if it cannot be done from home).

 

Australia Melbourne

State Premier Daniel Andrews announces Victoria’s highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic [James Ross/EPA] 

03:00 GMT – Japan approves dexamethasone as treatment

Japan’s health ministry has approved the use of dexamethasone as a treatment for COVID-19.

Dexamethasone is a cheap and widely-used steroid.

Studies have shown it has benefits for people with moderate or advanced cases of the disease.




Is plasma therapy effective against coronavirus?

02:00 GMT – Study suggests coronavirus can spread through speaking

A new study by the University of Nebraska suggests that COVID-19 can spread through normal speaking and breathing, and travel further than two metres, according to a report by AFP.

The findings have not yet been peer reviewed.

The Nebraska scientists collected air samples from the rooms of five patients bed-ridden with COVID-19 from about 30 centimetres above the foot of their beds. The patients were talking – producing microdroplets or aerosols that can remain in the air for a number of hours – and some were coughing. 

The team collected microdroplets as small as one micron in diameter, and three of the 18 samples were able to replicate in the lab.

Joshua Santarpia, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said the findings supported the idea that people can get COVID-19 through microdroplets.

“It is replicated in cell culture and therefore infectious,” he told the news agency.




COVID-19 survivor: ‘You understand how important life is’

01:15 GMT – China reports nine new cases in Xinjiang

China has reported 14 new cases of coronavirus, five of them imported and the rest in the far western region of Xinjiang.

There have been no new cases of community transmission in Beijing for 16 days, according to state media.

23:30 GMT (Tuesday) – Qatar to relax travel restrictions from August 1

Qatar is relaxing its coronavirus travel restrictions from the beginning of next month.

From August 1, citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to travel overseas and return, while residents will be allowed to return.

Travellers from low-risk countries will have to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and another after a seven-day home quarantine period, the Government Communications Office said in a statement.

If they are confirmed COVID-free from a recognised testing centre no more than 48 hours before travelling, they will be exempted from the test on arrival.

A list of the countries designated low-risk will be published on the website of the Ministry of Public Health and updated every two weeks.

23:00 GMT (Tuesday) – Trump comes out in favour of masks

After months of downplaying their importance, US President Donald Trump has come out unequivocally in favour of wearing masks. 

Speaking at the first White House press briefing in weeks, and without any medical experts present, Trump urged Americans to get a mask and wear it.

“Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact, they’ll have an effect and we need everything we can get,” he said. “I will use it, gladly.”  

Trump was talking in his first White House briefing in weeks and showed off his mask as he spoke. You can read more on what happened here.

US Trump

US President Donald Trump holds up his face mask at the White House press briefing on July 21 [Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via AFP]

—-

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (July 21) here.





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Greggs opening more branches today as deaths hit 42,153 and two-metre rule relaxed for firms – The Sun


GREGGS reopens its doors today following weeks of closure due to the coronavirus lockdown.

A third of the chain’s branches – around 800 Greggs stores in total – are reopening on Thursday, June 18 with a reduced menu and customers told to keep apart to maintain social distancing measures.

It comes amidst the much-anticipated return of Premier League football, complete with artificial crowd noises.

Meanwhile Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden last night revealed that gyms and leisure centres will finally be coming back in July at the earliest.

And human trials of a major vaccine begin this week, as Imperial College London’s team tests what they think could be the cure.

It comes as the death toll in the UK from coronavirus rose to 42,153 after 184 more people died yesterday.

Follow our live blog below for all the latest coronavirus news and updates.





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Pedestrian killed in hit and run road accident in Co Donegal


A male pedestrian has been killed in a suspected hit and run incident in Co Donegal.

The body of the man was discovered at Windyhall, Letterkenny at 4am on Monday morning.

Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene and the man was transferred to Letterkenny University Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.



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North West mayors urge caution and hit out at Westminster as regional R number passes 1 | UK | News


Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram – mayors of Manchester and Liverpool respectively – have urged the government to allow regional councils to decide when it is right to open schools to a wider number of pupils, going forward. The two mayors also called on the Prime Minister to provide confirmation that retail outlets should still be allowed to widely reopen on June 15 as part of the government’s plan to ease lockdown measures.

It comes after researchers from Public Health England and Cambridge University last week warned that the R number in the North West has crept above 1.

The R number is what the government is keeping a close watch on around the country. It represents the number of people that will be infected by each person that is confirmed positive for the virus.

Thus, an R number above 1 means that more and more people will be infected over time.

The North West is currently at 1.01 – higher than anywhere else in England and an increase of 0.73 a few weeks ago, according to the Manchester Evening News (MEN).

The two mayors said in a joint statement: “We ask everyone to make a renewed commitment to follow the official guidance and to stay home as much as possible,” I News reports.

“In fact, we would go further and advise people to err on the side of caution and to use the new freedoms carefully and safely.”

The rise has fuelled concerns among officials that planning for the Covid-19 response in England is too centralised, and that local councils are not getting enough information from Westminster.

This morning, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham held a press conference to address the concerns raised by the R number in the North West.

READ MORE: Americans are drinking BLEACH to prevent COVID-19 in shock new data

I News reports that the number of reported hospital admissions for Covid-19 in Greater Manchester is currently higher than it’s been since late April.

On Sunday, both Mr Burnham and Mr Rotheram wrote to the Prime Minister calling for “extra reassurance” for the North West given the rise in transmission rate.

The two mayors wrote: “Last month, you said that reports of the R going up again in countries where relaxations have been introduced was: ‘a very clear warning to us not to proceed too fast or too recklessly.’

“We agree with that but are disappointed that there has so far been no prior consultation or notice of the relaxations to lockdown that have so far been announced.”

The two mayors also said that they are making a commitment to provide more information locally on a weekly basis – the idea of a local “heat map” has been suggested – and called for Public Health England to support this.

They also called on the government to change its guidance so that “express permission” is granted to councils “to decide when it is right to re-open schools to a wider number of students, particularly with regard to more localised information”.

They added: “We would also ask the Government to seek confirmation for SAGE that it is safe to proceed with the much wider reopening of retail outlets on the 15th of June in the North West.





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Storm Ciara: Travel disruption as UK hit by severe gales


Waves on Ireland's west coast

Image caption

Ireland’s west coast was buffeted first by Storm Ciara

Severe gales and heavy rain are sweeping across the UK as travellers face disruption from Storm Ciara.

Airlines have cancelled dozens of domestic and international flights, while several rail firms have urged passengers not to travel.

Ferry passengers also face delays and cancellations, while drivers have been warned to take extra care.

Amber weather warnings for wind and heavy rain are in place for most of the UK, with gusts of up to 90mph expected.

Heathrow Airport said it had taken the joint decision with its airline partners to minimise the number of flights cancelled at short notice.

British Airways has cancelled some flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City, while Virgin Atlantic has posted a number of cancelled flights on its website.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

A trampoline is disrupting train services heading to London from Sevenoaks

Image copyright
Surrey Police

Image caption

Debris has been causing problems on the roads in Surrey

Network Rail has imposed a blanket speed restriction of 50mph across the network on Sunday, warning passengers to only travel by train that day “if absolutely necessary”.

It said there was the potential for damage to overhead lines and tracks caused by debris or fallen trees.

The rail firms which issued “do not travel” warnings for Sunday were Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Great Northern, Hull Trains, LNER, Northern, Southeastern, Southern, Thameslink and TransPennine Express.

A gust of 86mph was recorded in Capel Curig in Snowdonia, Wales, overnight. High winds reaching 70mph have already caused travel disruption in Scotland and several bridges have been closed to high-sided vehicles.

In Perth, three people were hurt after part of a pub roof collapsed, though none of them was seriously injured.

Meanwhile, Southeastern train services have been disrupted by a trampoline blowing onto the line.

An amber warning for wind is in place across much of England and Wales until 21:00 GMT on Sunday. The Met Office advises wind-blown debris and large waves could pose a danger to life.

Image copyright
Met Office

Yellow weather warnings now cover the whole of the UK until midnight on Sunday.

An amber warning for rain is in place in parts of Scotland, meaning homes and businesses are likely to be flooded and some communities could be cut off by impassable roads.

Visitors battle strong winds during a thunderstorm at the annual Whitby Regatta, August 2019

Getty Images

Weather warnings guide

  • YellowSevere weather possible, plan ahead, travel may be disrupted

  • AmberIncreased likelihood of impact, eg travel delays, power cuts

Source: Met Office

The heaviest rain is expected over high ground where 50-70mm is expected, with as much as 100mm in a few locations.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued more than 50 flood warnings – meaning flooding is expected – in Scotland, while there are 22 in place in England, and seven in Wales.

Gusts of 50-60mph are expected quite widely across inland areas as the storm passes over the country, reaching 80mph in coastal areas – particularly in south-east England and northern Scotland.

Other effects of the storm include:

  • The London Winter Run 10k – due to be attended by 25,000 runners – was cancelled
  • Horse racing at Exeter has been called off
  • London’s eight Royal Parks, which include Hyde Park and Regent’s Park, will close on Sunday
  • RHS Garden Wisley is closed on Sunday
  • The Dartford Crossing in Kent is closed to traffic on Sunday
  • P&O has cancelled some ferry services between Dover and Calais

In January, Storm Brendan swept into the UK, leading to power cuts and travel disruption.

This year’s storm names have already been chosen, with Dennis due to be the name for the next storm.


Have you been affected by Storm Ciara? Share your experiences by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:



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Syria says possible drone attacks hit 3 oil, gas facilities


BEIRUT (AP) — Near-simultaneous attacks believed to have been carried out by drones hit three government-run oil and gas installations in central Syria, state TV and the Oil Ministry said Saturday.

No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, which targeted the Homs oil refinery — one of only two in the country — as well as two natural gas facilities in different parts of Homs province.

Syria has suffered fuel shortages since earlier this year amid Western sanctions blocking imports, and because most of the country’s oil fields are controlled by Kurdish-led fighters in the country’s east.

State TV said it believes the attacks were carried out by drones and happened at the same time. It said a fire at the Homs oil refinery was soon put under control. The report said the Rayan gas facility and a third installation, also in Homs province, were hit.

Syria’s Oil Ministry said the attacks damaged some “production units” in the facilities. It said fires were being fought, and that repairs were already underway in some places.

The city of Homs and its suburbs have been fully under Syrian government control since 2017. However, some parts of the province near the border with Jordan remain in rebel hands.

In June, sabotage attacks damaged five underwater pipelines off the Mediterranean coastal town of Banias in Tartous province.

Syria’s oil imports dropped in October 2018 and shortages began in early 2019, largely the result of tighter Western sanctions on Syria and renewed U.S. sanctions on key Syrian ally Iran.

Before the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the country exported around half of the 350,000 barrels of oil it produced per day. Now its production is down to around 24,000 barrels a day, covering only a fraction of domestic needs.

In September, a drone and missile attack in Saudi Arabia hit the world’s largest crude oil processing plant, dramatically cutting into global oil supplies. Saudi Arabia says “Iranian weaponry” was used. Iran denies its weapons were involved.



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Bank of Montreal hikes dividend but takes hit for job cuts


The chief executive of the Bank of Montreal vowed Tuesday that there will be “ongoing accountability” in the wake of another restructuring charge that the Canadian lender was forced to take in connection with job cuts.

BMO reported on Tuesday net income of nearly $1.2 billion for the three months ended Oct. 31, down from about $1.7 billion a year earlier, due in part to a $484-million pre-tax restructuring charge that Canada’s fourth-largest lender took for the quarter.

The fourth-quarter charge was tied to severance and some small real estate-related costs, BMO said, “to continue to improve our efficiency, including accelerating delivery against key bank-wide initiatives focused on digitization, organizational redesign and simplification of the way we do business.”

BMO CEO Darryl White told analysts during a conference call that the decision was made “with serious consideration,” and was in line with its strategy.

“All areas of the bank contributed to the charge, and there will be ongoing accountability throughout the organization for the decisions that have been made,” White said.

BMO’s chief financial officer, Tom Flynn, said the restructuring charge would affect around five per cent of the bank’s employees. He added that they expect their measures to create savings of approximately $200 million in its fiscal 2020 and to achieve run-rate savings of about $375 million by the first quarter of fiscal 2021.

The comments came after the Toronto-based bank also reported it had cut the number of full-time equivalent employees by 810 from the previous quarter, to 45,513 total for the period ending Oct. 31.

However, the restructuring costs have been a recurring theme for BMO, which recorded similar charges in recent years, including hits of $260 million in 2018 and $59 million in 2017. There was also a $120-million severance expense for the second quarter of 2019, which was attributed to the bank’s capital-markets unit.

“It is difficult for us to credit good expense control in the face of yet another restructuring charge from this bank, this time approaching $500 million,” CIBC World Markets analyst Robert Sedran wrote in a note. “However, the underlying segment performance was solid with improving volume growth, positive operating leverage, and stable credit quality. A decent result.”

White, though, suggested that the restructuring costs could be coming to an end.

One of BMO’s key targets has to do with what is known as its efficiency ratio, which is a percentage calculated as non-interest expense divided by total revenue. BMO’s adjusted efficiency ratio was 60 per cent for the quarter, down from 62.2 per cent a year ago, but the bank has set the goal of achieving 58 per cent by 2021.

White said that the latest charge would help BMO in reaching its efficiency target, “while continuing to optimize efficiency beyond that without the need for additional charges.”

In response to an analyst question, the CEO noted it was a “sizable move” affecting five per cent of the bank’s workforce, that the bank was “holding the line a lot more tightly” on expense growth and that the discipline they expect from managers going forward does not include a “reliance on this technique and the assist of a charge.”

“And so that’s a very sort of clear message to the entire organization in terms of how we expect to manage ourselves going forward,” White said. “So when I put all those together, in addition to the real benefits that we’re starting to see from technology and digitization, we’re confident in telling you that we’ll retire this play from our playbook.”

Affecting BMO’s latest results as well were some acquisition-related assets and costs and a $25-million reinsurance “adjustment” connected to the impact of claims from Japanese typhoons, which hit the bank after its previously announced decision to wind down the reinsurance business.

With the latest restructuring charge removed, BMO’s profit for the quarter was $1.6 billion, up five per cent from the same three months of 2018. Adjusted earnings per share were $2.43, an increase of five per cent and slightly above the $2.41 that analysts were expecting.

The bank said its results were boosted by good showings from its retail businesses and greater earnings out of its wealth management unit, offset somewhat by a drop in net income from its capital-markets operations. The previous year’s results also included a “favourable tax item” in the U.S.

BMO’s stock price fell Tuesday morning, and was around 2.5 per cent lower as of 10 a.m., at $98.22.

“We do not expect the slight beat to drive the stock; however, the news on the restructuring charge is likely to drive some near term upside in BMO shares given our expectation that management will suggest that this restructuring positions the bank well to deliver on its 58 per cent efficiency ratio target for 2021,” Eight Capital analyst Steve Theriault wrote.

For its fiscal 2019, which wrapped up at the end of October, BMO reported earnings of almost $5.8 billion, up six per cent from the previous year.

In addition to the earnings, BMO announced it was hiking its quarterly dividend payment by three cents to $1.06 per common share.

• Email: [email protected] | Twitter:





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Keefe, Leafs a hit at home


The Maple Leafs chose the low-key approach to Sheldon Keefe’s first home game, but Frederik Andersen hogged all the Hogtown screen time anyway.

Keefe can hang his first Scotiabank Arena win on Andersen’s 29 saves, including an eye-popping snare in the second period in an eventual 2-1 win over Buffalo on John Tavares’ overtime goal.

With his parents leading a clan gathering of Keefe Nation, the new coach improved to 4-1 with a difficult home-and-home split with the Sabres.

“I’ve been in this environment before (the farm team Marlies play a few times at SBA), but never quite like this, so full, as much emotion and energy,” Keefe said. “I’m hoping it’s better from here.”

Keefe’s replacing of Mike Babcock was only mentioned briefly in a pre-game in-house broadcast before many fans had arrived. Much like his predecessor, Keefe was grateful Andersen was there to save the day when his team lagged or was pushed off the puck.

“Nice to have a guy capable of that,” said Keefe, whose team lost the only game Andersen didn’t start for him, Friday in Buffalo. “You’re going to need that at certain times and it gives is confidence. It wasn’t the prettiest at times, but we found a way to get two points.”

The Leafs also won the second of back-to-back games for the first time this season, Keefe switching the rotation with Michael Hutchinson opening and Andersen closing.

“We’ve talked a little bit about how to do this scenario,” said Andersen, who seemed leery of not starting the first game. “We have a middle man in our goalie coach (Steve Briere), a little buffer there. But we talked to Sheldon as well and thought we’d try to do it this time. We started out great yesterday (Hutchinson struggled later in the 6-4 loss). It would’ve been nice to get all four points, but I’ll take two.

“When you’re seeing the puck well, you get in good position and that leads to a few more saves when you’re out of position. That’s the key to my game to track the puck around.”

Another back-to-back debate looms next week, with Toronto playing in Philadelphia on Tuesday and home again to face Nazem Kadri and the Avalanche on Wednesday.

GAME ON

After Andersen made two stops in OT, Tavares beat Carter Hutton glove side at the 1:45 mark. Hutton was tough on the Leafs, making 41 saves but has gone without a win for five weeks.

Andersen recorded his seventh victory against Buffalo as a Leaf and broke a tie with Curtis Joseph for the second most against the Sabres, who have been a prickly foe for Toronto going back to their birth in the early 1970s.

William Nylander scored on a power play, with Auston Matthews assisting, and though the latter has just one point the past three games he nearly had the winner in the final seconds of regulation when he went five-hole on Hutton and Marco Scandella swept it off the goal line.

For Nylander, his 10th goal came almost a year to the day he ended his damaging contract spat with the club, returning to double figures for the first time since 2017-18.

After a scoreless first period, in which Andersen had to be alert for teammates getting out-hustled to pucks and the Leafs survived a Nic Petan penalty, they hit on their own power play. Matthews braked by the boards and dished to Nylander, who was given too much room by an otherwise tight Sabres defence. Tavares and Matthews had their hands full with Jack Eichel, who won five of his first six draws and pressed the duo all night.

Buffalo thought it tied the game midway through the second as Conor Sheary ripped a wrister from the slot that Andersen coolly snagged. But the Sabres quickly pointed for a review and indeed most of the goalie’s glove was behind the line — but not the puck.

On another Leafs clearance collapse in that period, Andersen gloved a Jeff Skinner shot on his knees with no stick. Rasmus Ristolainen, one of seven defencemen deployed by the Sabres in this game, burst in through the left side of the Leafs and beat Andersen early in the third period.

BEST FOOT FORWARD

Keefe was glad to have Alexander Kerfoot back in the lineup after a two-game league suspension from an illegal hit in the game a week ago against Colorado. Kerfoot flew off the bench in the first period on a long change to keep a puck in during the first period.

His return meant Jason Spezza sat after being one of Keefe’s best players in the first four games. But the coach said the 36-year-old Spezza wouldn’t necessarily sit every portion of a back-to-back, citing the Leafs being on the ice six straight days for resting him Saturday.

LOOSE LEAFS

Tavares had his 400th NHL assist on the Nylander goal … The Marlies are 4-1 under co-coaches A.J. MacLean and Ron Davison, but as Elliotte Friedman reported on Hockey Night In Canada, many unemployed minor pro and former NHL bench bosses would love the gig … In a touching pre-game Hockey Fights Cancer ceremony, young survivor Khanya Solano and her family rang the bell to signify the end of her chemo treatments. The Leafs will auction off their purple warm-up sweaters and sticks … Leaf defenceman Cody Ceci apologized to referee Ian Walsh whom he surprised by hitting about 15 feet away from the net in open ice with a wild third period wrist shot … For the first time since mid-October, the Leafs have gone two games without allowing a power play goal.

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