How low can Maple Leafs go?

- February 29th, 2012

Of all of the questions surrounding the Maple Leafs, there’s one now that should scare the diehard followers more than any other.
How low will they go?
Not quite a month ago, the Leafs were in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. They had just lost against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a shootout and a night later, on Feb. 1 in Toronto, they beat the Penguins 1-0. In their next game, they beat the Ottawa Senators 5-0 in Canada’s capital. They then came home and crunched the Edmonton Oilers at the Air Canada Centre on Feb. 6 in their most recent regulation win.
They’ve won one game since then. They’ve got three — three! — of a possible 20 points in going 1-8-1, including a 5-3 loss against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
In the past 10 games, the Leafs have the worst record in the National Hockey League. Next up is a game in Chicago on Wednesday night against the Blackhawks.
Despite the losses that pile up, the Leafs have dropped only three spots in the standings (they flirted with seventh place a couple of times, most recently on Feb. 9).
But one of the hardest feats to accomplish is passing those teams above you. Now, you need other teams to lose. That’s not a safe position to be in.
The Leafs, in 10th, are four points out of a playoff spot and have to climb past the Winnipeg Jets, who are in ninth. The Tampa Bay Lightning, given up for dead, are one point behind the Leafs.
Nineteen games to go. The hole gets any deeper, and the Leafs, as they have every year since 2004, will be getting a crack at their golf games before 16 other NHL teams.
In other words, same old, same old.

Categories: Hockey

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1 comment

  1. Gaz says:

    So what happened after the February 6 win against the Oilers? Something in the dressing room? Finally tuning Wilson out? Or just a snowball effect, partially due to loss of confidence in the goalies (a la Toskala)?

    The leafs were skating hard and scoring well enough in January. Reimer and Gustavsson each had a couple of shutouts and were playing with confidence. I think they were 10-4-1 after January 1 at one point. After the 6th, they lost one-goal games to Winnipeg and Philly. Then got blown out by the Habs. And then….. here we are.

    Reimer and Gustavsson aren’t elite goalies but they still have potential, despite their shattered confidence right now. (Not that Wilson helped with that in any way.) I’m sure Habs fans will remember coming down hard on Price not too long ago.

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