5 games to go, and with the Habs' recent form, home ice advantage is within the Leafs' reach (also play them in the last game of the season). The Buds will need to bounce back from their first blowout loss since early March vs. the Jets, as they seemingly ran into a red-hot Capitals team at the wrong time, in a back-to-back scenario with travel in between and some bad habits creeping into their game.
On the flip side, with a loss to the 7th-placed Islanders the Leafs could find themselves in position to fall back into the clutches of the 6-7 seeds of the East. Based on recent play within the Conference, and the Leafs season series against the potential opponents, I think we have to be hoping for Leafs-Habs matchup in round 1 - both from the standpoint of how unspeakably awesome it would be and in terms of the Leafs' chances of advancing. The Leafs can take down most teams that attempt to outspeed and outskill them and they have also outcompeted the Habs physically. The difficulty seems to come in when the Leafs are slowed down, forced to fall back on a grind-it-out cycle game, and retrieve and control the puck along the boards. [more…]
After the Leafs pulled off a steal of a win over New Jersey last night, the Buds are in Washington, DC tonight hoping to chase down suddenly-within-reach home ice advantage for the playoffs. Should the Jets lose and the Leafs win tonight, mathematics say we can officially borrow against our homes and buy tickets to Leafs playoff games in May. [more…]
The league's fourth ranked team, the Toronto Maple Leafs (we beat Boston in something!), host the New Jersey tonight seeking to snuff out their dwindling playoff hopes by completing the season series sweep over the Devils.
Settling for a comfortable playoff position cannot be the approach if you're Carlyle's Leafs. The goal has to be to try to chase down home ice advantage for round one, or at the very least to finish strong headed into the playoffs. There is a definite advantage for teams who are playing at a playoff level with playoff intensity already by the time game 1 of the Quarterfinals rolls around. Winning games like this one against desperate teams will help keep the Leafs confident and battle ready for the big dance. [more…]
Toronto Maple Leafs (22-13-5) vs. Montreal Canadiens (26-9-5)
Hopefully you have power, and hopefully you and your loved ones survived the Great Ice Storm of 2013 over the past 48 hours. Mother Nature is clearly a pissed off Flyers fan.
Toronto looks to make a dent in the 8-point lead Montreal has on them in the standings tonight but will likely have to do it without Mikhail Grabovski, who is sidelined with an apparent 2-year old stomach ailment. As a father myself, it's no coincidence that this ailment has been around the same amount of time as his children. [more…]
Toronto Maple Leafs (22-13-4) vs New York Rangers (19-16-4)
The Toronto Maple Leafs look to complete a home-and-home sweep of the New York Rangers to solidify their all-but-certain playoff spot. [more…]
Toronto Maple Leafs last 10: 6-1-3, New York Rangers last 10: 5-3-2
As the season winds down, The Maple Leafs find themselves in a position to either pull clear of the teams beneath them, or stumble and fall back into the clutches of 8th/9th place. [more…]
The Leafs are in New Jersey tonight to take on the 9th-placed Devils. With the Devils sitting five behind Leafs (granted, with three teams in between), and the Leafs trying to recoup from the double loss that was the Flyers game (Lupul injury), this would be a really nice game to win in terms of alleviating any concern about the Leafs closing out their playoff berth. [more…]
The Leafs are back at it after a welcomed four day lull in the schedule. The deadline hurdle has been cleared for the players, with no significant additions or subtractions to the roster. The group that got the Leafs into this position is going to have a chance to finish what they started by clinching the Leafs' first playoff berth in eight years. It's tough to imagine James Reimer is viewing this as a vote of confidence, though, after his GM publicly admitted that Miikka Kiprusoff was of much interest to the team and that the two sides discussed the possibility of an extension. [more…]
Last 10: Toronto 4-2-4; Ottawa 7-1-2
The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to earn at least a point in an eighth straight game Saturday night as they visit the Ottawa Senators, who have been on a decent run of their own.
In what is the most meaningful "Battle of Ontario" in the last few years, it's more than just pride on the line; it's home-ice advantage and two teams sizing each other up as potential first-round matchups. Toronto is trying on their new look as a playoff team for the first time in 8 years and Ottawa is revelling in their depth as a team that has been able to stave off huge injuries to Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Chris Anderson with seemingly no drop-off in performance. [more…]
In a matchup with big playoff implications, the Leafs could move ten up on the 10th-placed Carolina Hurricanes with a win in this four-point swing game. A loss in regulation puts the Hurricanes within six with three games in hand.
The Hurricanes are an opponent the Leafs have struggled with in both matchups this season. Their strength down the middle has played a key role as the Staal brothers have featured prominently on the scoresheet in a combined 7-2 win over the two games. Among teams the Leafs have played more than once, the Canes are the only opponent they have gained zero points off of. [more…]
After a game in which the Leafs sat back, tried to limit the damage and relied on the counterattack against Boston, tonight you hope to see the Leafs exhibit spells of dominance against the 30th-placed Florida Panthers. It's a back to back scenario with travel in between, but we would love to see some killer instinct out of the Leafs knowing the state of the opponent and the importance of the two points. [more…]
Toronto Maple Leafs (17-12-3) at Boston Bruins (17-9-6)
Last 10: Toronto 4-3-1; Boston 5-2-3
The Leafs did it. They beat the Boston Bruins. As a reward, they get to play them again two nights later.
It took a good mix of a lot of things going right to pull it off their first win over the Bruins in nearly two calendar years. To the Leafs’ credit, they finished their hits, got involved in the game early, caused some turnovers and grabbed an early lead. They were patient and the amount of respect they had for their opponent, and their hunger to finally beat them, was apparent in the extra effort the likes of Kadri and Kessel among others were putting in defensively. [more…]