Boston Blows It; Playoff Hopes on Life Support

The Bruins held a 3-0 lead last night and lost 5-3 to the Rangers. As usual we wish Boston the very worst. The Rangers with 91 points are now clear of the Toronto Maple Leafs. In New York they’re only worried about Carolina stealing their spot. The Sabres are still in reach but if you remember our post yesterday they need three regulation losses and the Leafs need three wins not in a shootout.

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It’s unlikely that the Leafs get six points and it’s even unlikelier that Buffalo, riding rookie goaltender Jhonas Enroth’s .915 SV%, doesn’t secure a single point. Stranger things have happened but never to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

A look at the standings for the whole league paints a different picture:

The Leafs could fall as far as 25th or make it as high as 17th, so these three remaining games have a lot of meaning to a Toronto club that probably wants to ensure that their GM isn’t pissed off at the draft lottery.

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1 Point

If every team below them wins out one point gets the Leafs essentially nothing. They’d lose the non shootout win tiebreaker with New Jersey and finish in 25th place ahead of only the Islanders. Worth nothing that the Leafs have clinched a non-lottery spot. Break out the party hats.

2 Points

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Two points guarantees that the Leafs finish ahead of Atlanta (ROW tiebreaker) and draft no better than the 7th pick.

3 Points

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This would put the Leafs at 87 points and tie them points wise with Columbus. The regulation/OT win tiebreaker would come into play here; if the Leafs won a game in regulation or Columbus won a game in the shootout the Leafs would be drafting in 8th.

4 Points

Four points would see the Leafs likely lose the first tiebreaker to Minnesota and probably tie it with St. Louis. The Leafs, if they only get 4 points and MIN & STL win out, would be best served by having both of those wins be in regulation or OT. The Leafs beat both St. Louis and Minnesota this season and would hold the second tiebreaker (head to head record) if it got that far.

5 Points

This would be a hell of a finish for the Buds: an 89 point season after giving away the 2nd overall pick last year. To catch Carolina the Leafs would need them to pick up only 2 points in their final 3 games and hope to win the ROW tiebreaker. If Dallas loses out the Leafs’ chance would be to have 2 regulation/OT wins and move on to the second tiebreaker. The Leafs beat Dallas 4-1 on November 22nd.

6 Points

If Buffalo loses out and Carolina picks up 3 points or fewer the Leafs will secure the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

That’s our cheering interest. Root against every team listed here, as they lose the Leafs pick gets worse and worse. Somehow I see a big winning streak coming for all of them. The Leafs host the Capitals tonight; let’s hope the Leafs start the week by making sure they can’t be passed by the Devils or the Thrashers.

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  • The first goal is to win out and make the playoffs, as improbable as that is.

    That being said, if the Leafs are eliminated from the post-season, despite not having their own first round pick, would it not be better for them to gain draft position in subsequent rounds? The difference between picking 8th overall and 14th overall is obviously a bigger gap than picking between 38th and 44th overall when it comes to talent available, but picking before another team, no matter what round, still gives you a bigger pool to choose from. If the Leafs are eliminated, despite it helping Boston with their draft position in the first round, I think Leaf fans need to perhaps cheer for a couple of losses to end the season.

    I looked at the 2007 draft as an example and the players taken between the 38th and 43rd pick were as follows: Billy Sweatt(Chi), Simon Hjalmarsson(Stl), Michal Repik(Fla), Kevin Marshall(Phi), Eric Tangradi(Ana), P.K. Subban(Mtl).

    Of those seven players, three have played NHL games (Repik, Tangradi, & Subban). Maybe gaining a few spots in the lower rounds might actually be something worth considering.