A Good Night of Results & A Brutal Stretch Ahead

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 2009-13 Maple Leafs Annual magazines. You can contact him at [email protected]

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