Well, the luck continued yesterday for the Blue and White. With their monumental collapse in the playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers last season still fresh in the minds of the Boston faithful, the Bruins once again committed a major defensive lapse by surrendering five unanswered goalsÂ to the Rangers yesterday and putting the post season furtherÂ out of reach for the Leafs. Hopefully the hockey gods have the decency to balance out the Leafs’ misfortunes eventually because we haven’t seen much fall their way since the lockout.
At the end of the day, the Leafs playoffÂ aspirations rely solely on their performance throughout the entireÂ season. While a late stretch created excitement for the city of Toronto, this team must get over the hump and learn to win on aÂ consistent basis without that major, season-killing slump that has had them fighting such a deficit the past few seasons. All Leaf fans can ask for is an honest effort and demand no excuses for mid-season mediocrity. It has been well-documented that the Leafs have put together one of the best records in the NHL since the All Star break. None of that matters if the team is one of the worst through October and November.
With three important games left on the schedule, starting with tonight`s game against Washington, the Leafs will look to finish the year strong to leave no doubts that they finally jumped over the hump. Although the playoffs are still a mathematical possibility, the Buffalo Sabres must lose the rest of their games in regulation while the Leafs need to go three straight in either regulation or overtime. If the Sabres manage to record a point, Toronto will be officially, mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Hey, stranger things have happened, right? I think?
â€œAt the end of the day, you donâ€™t want to be in the situation where youâ€™re hoping for other teams to do you favours. In my experience, it never seems to happen. But, at the end of the year, if weâ€™re frustrated about anything, it should be some of the losing streaks. Thatâ€™s what should motivate us.â€
– Joffrey Lupul, courtesy of James Mirtle at The Globe and Mail
New York Rangers overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Bruins 5-3 and force the Leafs to have no wiggle room.
SkinnyFish over at Pension Plan Puppets updates the Leafs chances to qualify for the post season.
PPP looks at the significance of the number 11 and how it pertains to Phil Kessel.
Chemmy at The Leafs Nation takes a detailed look at the playoff scenarios and teams ahead of the Leafs in the playoff hunt.
The Star`s Paul Hunter reports on the Leafs slim chances of making the playoffs.
The blue and white have run out of games to catch up on the Sabres, Rangers and Hurricanes.
James Mirtle reports on Reimer`s faith and how it helps him with hockey.
Mirtle with another story, this time on Joffrey Lupul, who has made a seamless transition to Toronto and is thriving with his new teammates.
Another good read on Lupul from Mike Ulmer at MapleLeafs.com, who looks at the winger`s journey back to the NHL.
Jonas Siegel with a story on the Leafs positive outlook, despite being on the verge of missing the post season.
Lukas Hardonk at The Hockey Writers thinks the Leafs offense has made significant strides this season.
Another great piece on former fourth round pick Matt Frattin, who has made news on and off the ice throughout his young career.
Jeff at Marlies HQ looks at the Marlies drastic letdown over the last 10 games that has pushed them right out of the playoff race.
Other hockey links:
A roundtable discussion at The Globe and Mail with thoughts on what will be a widely debated question. Who do you think is the league`s best blue liner?
A recap of the first round of the CHL playoffs from Daniel Girard of the Toronto Star.
Last Night in Leafs Prospects
The Plymouth Whalers finished off the Kitchener Rangers last night to take the series 4-to-2 and advance to the second round. Jerry D`Amigo recorded five goals, three assists and eight penalty minutes in six games for Kitchener. Jamie Devane`s Whalers squad will move on toÂ face Jesse Blacker and the Owen Sound Attack. The Erie Otters need more out of Greg McKegg, who has only two goals in six games. Puck drop forÂ game seven against the Windsor spitfires is set for tonight.