by Shiv on 03/11/11 at 03:04 AM ET
Winning two games in two weeks against the Philadelphia Flyers was a lofty expectation for the Leafs. So Toronto will swallow the 3-2 loss to the Flyers tonight.
But the Leafs are running out of lives. Fast.
Toronto sits 10th in the East with 68 points in 68 games. Carolina is in 9th with 72 points and the Rangers are in 8th with 74 points. Buffalo sits in 7th with 74 points as well but they have played only 67 games compared to NYR’s 69.
Cue Saturday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres – the first of 2 remaining meetings the Leafs have against their divisional rivals. If the Leafs lose, it’s over.
Being 6 points back of the 8th Place Rangers with 13 games to go will be near impossible barring a destructive collapse by both New York and the 9th Place Hurricanes. But beyond that, the Rangers and Sabres meet once more while the Hurricanes and Sabres have two more meetings before season’s end.
The Leafs meanwhile do not get to play the Rangers.
So while it may seem more likely for the Leafs to catch the Rangers due to their spot in the standings, the Leafs do not have control over their ability to catch the Rangers other than simply winning as many games as possible. Against the Sabres, on the other hand, two games give the Leafs the ability to catch up. Add to that the fact that Toronto plays Carolina once more and that threat from 9th seed can be overcome as well.
With losses in each of their last 3 games, Toronto needs a miracle run to make it now. Even 10-3-1 will be cutting it close.
Or else it will be a 6th straight season out of the playoffs.
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