In an ideal world, I’d be telling you right now that the Toronto Maple Leafs swept their season series against the Philadelphia Flyers last night and that they were now returning home in the hopes of winning back-to-back games for the first time in who knows how long.
Instead, I can only report that the Leafs missed a golden opportunity yesterday to put themselves (temporarily anyway) ahead in the race for a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Columbus Blue Jackets, who’ve played two fewer games than the Leafs, had a difficult matchup last night against the Pittsburgh Penguins and they lost as expected. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter since the Leafs lost as well. Toronto must be kicking itself right now because there are only so many tough matchups like this coming the Blue Jackets’ way.
(Columbus has been a complete and pleasant surprise this season, and it would be great to see them make the playoffs, but it shouldn’t be at the Leafs’ expense!
Toronto has little time left in the season to correct the course – they’ve now lost seven games in a row – and it’s hard to believe that they once (albeit temporarily – sense a theme?) sat above Montreal in the standings.
They draw a potentially favourable matchup tonight against the Detroit Red Wings – favourable in the sense that they can prevent Detroit from picking up any points in the Wild Card race – but the same scenario applies to the Red Wings.
It’s the mistakes that are hurting Toronto: untimely penalties, poor defensive decisions and play, weak goals, slow offence.
Unless these problems are miraculously fixed by the time the puck drops tonight, I have my money on Detroit to win. Yes, you heard that correctly, but it’s also the safe and easy bet.
(Go Red Wings?)
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