3 Most Important Games Left on Toronto Maple Leafs' Schedule
The Toronto Maple Leafs are on an absolute tear.
Having posted a record of 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, the Leafs have positioned themselves phenomenally to make their first playoff appearance since the 2003-04 season.
In fact, with just five more wins, the Leafs can guarantee themselves a spot in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs (they would have the regulation and overtime win tiebreaker over the New Jersey Devils if just one of those wins were to come in regulation or OT).
While Monday night's victory over the New York Rangers was clutch, it goes without saying that there are still some incredibly important games left on the Leafs' schedule.
Here's the big three.
April 10 at New York Rangers
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The Leafs were able to come away with a big win on home ice against the New York Rangers on April 8, stretching the gap between the two teams to six points.
Now the Rangers will be looking to pay back the favor when the Maple Leafs travel to the "Big Apple" in the second half of a home-and-home series with the Blueshirts.
Should the Leafs find a way to pull out a second consecutive win against their Original Six rivals, they would stretch their lead to eight points (or seven if they win in overtime or a shootout) and solidify their spot in the postseason race.
Picking up a win at Madison Square Garden on April 10th would do wonders for the Leafs and their playoff hopes.
April 13 vs. Montreal Canadiens
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Once the home-and-home with the Rangers is over, Toronto will have two much-needed days of rest to recuperate both physically and mentally for a big-time showdown with their long-time rival Montreal Canadiens on Saturday April 13.
With that game set to take place at the Air Canada Centre, the Leafs will be looking to be the first of the two teams in this matchup to actually win a game on home ice (the Leafs have taken both games at the Bell Centre, while Montreal won the lone matchup that took place in Toronto up to this point).
To make matters more interesting, Montreal is only one point ahead of Boston right now and has played an extra game.
In other words, if Boston were to pass Montreal before this Saturday's game, the fans at the ACC may be in for a preview of the Leafs' first-round matchup.
A win in that contest would also move Toronto closer to home-ice advantage in the first round.
Needless to say, Saturday night's tilt between the long-time foes should be a great one.
April 18 vs. New York Islanders
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April 18's matchup against the red-hot New York Islanders may be one of the more exciting games to watch this season.
With the two teams being a combined 14-3-3 in their last 10 games, the Isles and Leafs are both finding their strides just in time for the final push to the postseason.
Both squads are in the top six in the conference in terms of goals scored, so fans could be in for an offensive explosion.
With playoff seeding on the line and the teams in the East so tightly bunched, this matchup will have major playoff implications.
Not to mention the Leafs will surely be looking to avenge the 7-4 thumping they took from the Islanders on their home ice back in January.