After Saturday night's wakeup call against the defending Stanley Cup champions, one thing is clear: the Toronto Maple Leafs are not winning it all this season. Sorry, I didn't mean to shock you right off the bat.
Though the club is on an impressive run since the beginning of February (10-3-4), losing just three times in regulation, they're not championship material. The Chicago Blackhawks proved that.
So now that we've cleared that up, what is this team? They're showing with this late-season run that they are, in fact, in playoff contention. Just five points out with 16 games remaining, they've got a shot.
But what about if they get into the dance? Could this version of the Leafs actually win a round in the postseason?
It's possible; just ask the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens of last season, who finished seventh and eighth respectively during the regular season and then met up in the Eastern Conference Finals. All you need to do is get in.
And while this club is obviously in take-it-one-game-at-a-time mode, desperately trying to keep pace with the clubs ahead of them, we're just going to be brash and look ahead, way ahead, at what would need to happen for the Leafs to advance to the second round.
And I know what you're thinking: hold on, you over-eager psycho, and wait until this team is actually in before you go ahead and look at how they can win a round.
I hear you, but where's the fun in that?
If the Leafs get into the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, here's a few things they need to do to get past the first round.