January 03 2017 11:18AM
Morgan Rielly, when asked if he talks about the playoffs given where the Leafs are right now (via NHL.com):
In meetings, no. Amongst each other at dinner, absolutely. I think if you don't come to the rink with the attitude that you're going to be playing in the playoffs, you're already behind. When we go for dinner, we definitely talk about it. I check the standings every day. We definitely talk about it. I certainly do.
I also like to check the standings every once in a while, and this morning they're telling me that, on the heels of another Bruins loss, the Leafs now sit three points back of third in the Atlantic with four games in hand (though it's really Ottawa that's more likely the sitting duck). They head into Washington tonight to go up against one of the best, and stingiest teams in the league.
The Caps have given up the fewest goals against in the conference, and rank fourth overall in Corsi Against per 60 minutes. To go on the road and get these two points is going to be difficult, but it's a good measuring stick for this Leafs team that has recently been doing a nice job of taking care of teams they should beat. Now they need to get another win against a team they shouldn't.
January 01 2017 05:15PM
With the way most of these outdoor NHL games become so much of a spectacle, it's sometimes easy to overlook the two points on the line. And for the Leafs, climbing into the thick of the playoff race due to a strong month of December, another win against a divisional opponent would be a nice way to open the 2017 calendar. What they got was just that, but the fans who filed in for the first ever NHL outdoor game in Toronto got a whole lot more.
December 31 2016 08:43AM
Not taking anything away from a solid effort by Antoine Bibeau for his first career win on Thursday night, it's no secret the Leafs have some major question marks in net beyond Freddie Andersen. And while Andersen has been other-worldly over the last couple months, vaulting himself to a place among the league leaders in save percentage, Toronto has been riding him pretty hard, starting him in 29 of their 35 games so far.
December 29 2016 08:51PM
If Mike Babcock wants the Leafs to get six points every five games, you could say the team was sort of playing with house money tonight, going into their 35th game riding a three game win streak. Still, with their climb up the standings reliant on putting points in the bank against divisional opponents, grabbing four in the sunshine state in 24-hours is obviously a big deal. And that's just what the Leafs, who are actually good, did.
December 28 2016 11:54AM
You may have forgotten it in the holiday haze of booze and tryptophan, but the Leafs are on a little winning streak right now and have actually positioned themselves nicely to make the climb for a playoff spot in the new year. As things currently stand, thanks to that pair of road wins against Colorado and Arizona prior to the Christmas break, Toronto is just five points back of the Bruins for third in the Atlantic, with FOUR games in hand. It's right there for them, but they still have to keep pace and eventually leap a couple teams in the process, including their opponent tonight, the Fancy Cats of Florida.
These points are important.