Toronto Maple Leafs: 5 Crucial Games They Could Lose to Miss the Playoffs
After losing to the New York Islanders, the Toronto Maple Leafs are putting themselves in an ever more desperate situation as they chase a playoff spot.
As it stands currently, it looks like it will take 90 points to claim the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Leafs have 68 so far with 15 games left to play.
The Leafs need to win 11 of the final 15 games, or if they keep up their recent trend of losing in overtime they could go 7-0-8.
With every loss that occurs the Leafs get closer and closer to missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season.
Here are five crucial games that could cost the Leafs their playoff lives.
Thursday, March 10 vs. Philadelphia Flyers
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The Leafs' next game is against the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers have slumped lately but are coming off a win against the Edmonton Oilers.
Assistant captain Chris Pronger was upset with the Flyers' recent poor performances and spoke about it after the game.
Often, when a leader speaks out publicly about a team's struggles, the team comes to play in their next game.
Unfortunately for the Leafs, they could well get caught in the wake of a Flyers rebound performance.
Saturday, March 19 vs. Boston Bruins
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The big bad Boston Bruins are a team who aren't fun to play against. Their net-crashing style could prove to be a handful for James "Optimus Reim" Reimer.
The game will also be Tomas Kaberle's return to Toronto which could be a distraction for the Leafs.
The Bruins are battling for top spot in the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference, and, even though they're playing well, it could be a challenge for the Leafs.
Tuesday, March 29 vs. Buffalo Sabres
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The Buffalo Sabres currently occupy the eighth and final playoff spot that the Leafs are chasing.
If the Sabres claim a regulation victory, it would be the dreaded "four-point swing" that could kill any chance the Leafs still have.
Saturday, April 2 vs. Ottawa Senators
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The Ottawa Senators have become Eastern Conference cellar-dwellers this season and that's highly unlikely to change anytime soon.
Nevertheless, the Leafs' pesky provincial rivals would love nothing more than to wreck their longtime enemy's chance at making the playoffs.
The game will be a "Hockey Night in Canada" featured matchup that the Senators will certainly show up for.
Saturday, April 9 vs. Montreal Canadiens
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The Montreal Canadiens should have clinched a playoff spot by the time the final game of the regular season rolls around.
However, the Habs could still be fighting the Bruins for the Northeast Division title.
They're also Toronto's oldest rival and would relish the chance to serve the Leafs some heartbreak if they can get that close to a playoff spot.