A Good Night of Results & A Brutal Stretch Ahead

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TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 3: Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs scores his 200th career goal in the second period as Antti Niemi #31 and Justin Braun #61 of the San Jose Sharks defend during NHL game action December 3, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

Here’s your breakdown of last night’s results (highlights in the right sidebar):

  • Montreal – LOST
  • Tampa Bay – LOST
  • Washington – LOST
  • Columbus – LOST
  • Detroit – LOST in OT

One point out of a possible ten was garnered by the Leafs‘ closest competitors in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

If we perform the simple, time-saving exercise of calculating the playoff cut-off line via the points pace of the current last-seeded wildcard team, the magic number is 91. 18 games remain, so .500 hockey likely ensures a berth with 92 points.

That’s if your sights are set low, of course. With the recent downturn of the Tampa Bay Lightning (3-7 in L10), the Leafs are in the third divisional playoff spot in the Atlantic at the moment, three behind the second-placed Canadiens, who the Leafs play one more time before the season is through.

Starting with the Flyers game on Saturday, the Leafs enter a particularly meaningful and brutal eight-game stretch. They travel through the State of Hockey Dominance known as California (Anaheim, LA and San Jose have a collective record of 119 – 56 – 19; the Ducks and Sharks are an awful back-to-back next week on Monday-Tuesday, meaning three games in four nights). They will also play five games against five teams within six points of them in the Eastern Conference (Philly, Washington, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Montreal), many of whom have a game in hand. With all eight games played in a 15-day span. Wow.

It’s sure to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Let’s keep the good vibes rolling this Friday morning:

TGIF Links…

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • maple1967leafs

    Thanks Alec,nice to see everyone else lose,And ty Tyler for laying a whoopin on Tort’s sports

  • Burtonboy

    Add Pitt to the list of losers as well .  Booya

  • MLHS_Luke

    California has gone from the laughing stock of the NHL to the powerhouse of the league.  Good for them.

  • Kouba

    wow we leapt over TB? I watched the Rangers game and didn’t even realized lol

  • MaxwellHowe

    The Leafs will do just fine next week.  I think they turned the corner against the Rangers.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe  I think so too Max . Even though it seemed the sky was falling around here the 3 games before the Ranger game I felt they weren’t playing that badly. Just making a couple of bone headed plays that really cost them. It was nothing compared to the 4 game losing streak after the classic . They looked horrible during that stretch.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe even the shot differentials are generally down.  Rags gots 37, but it certainly didn’t seem like they had many quality chances

  • MaxwellHowe

    hoolihan I don’t think the reaction of other teams’ fans is irrelevant.  I love to bathe in the sweet salty tears of habs fans.

  • Burtonboy

    Crosby -5 last night . Even the so called best player in the world has bad nights

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Burtonboy  He would even get ripped here in Toronto.

    (and not here in Aiken, South Carolina)