Three to go.
We’ve read a lot about the percentages with regards to the Leafs making the playoffs. These odds, those odds, on and on. Heading into tonight’s game between the Leafs and Lightning, here’s what we’ve got.
The Leafs have 84 points and three games remaining against Tampa Bay, Florida, and Ottawa. All on the road, but no back-to-backs. That’s a difficult but winnable trio of games.
The Columbus Blue Jackets sit in the final wild card spot in the east with 87 points and four games remaining. The road ahead for them is no cake-walk. They have Phoenix tonight and then Dallas the next; two teams fighting each other for their playoff lives in the west. After one day off, Columbus then faces the Lighting and the Panthers in a back-to-back scenario. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking but the Blue Jackets could easily buckle in their four remaining games.
Can you imagine if the Leafs’ playoff hopes come down to whether or not Roberto Luongo, the goalie they were rumoured to be getting for like two years, can stop the Columbus Blue Jackets?
The New Jersey Devils sit tied with the Leafs with 84 points and three games remaining. The difference is the Devils have five more regulation wins. Their final three games are against the Senators and the Islanders in a back-to-back situation, followed by the Boston Bruins two days later.
Finally, we have the Washington Capitals. They’re sitting on 83 points with four games remaining. They’re pretty much screwed. They have St. Louis, followed by Carolina then Chicago in a back-to-back, and wrap up against the Lightning. How much would it suck to run the table against those
four three great teams and then miss the playoffs?
Actually, I shouldn’t leave out Ottawa. Theoretically, if Columbus doesn’t gain another point all year, if New Jersey, Toronto, and Washington all fail to pass 87 points, and Ottawa wins each of their four remaining games against the Isles, Devils, Leafs, and Penguins, they could make it. Actually they could even tie the Capitals and maybe even Leafs and would hold the tie-breaker in ROW… So yeah, they’re boned.
So rather than tell you the percentages, I’m telling you all the information you need right there. What are the Leafs’ odds? I’ll let you decide that. If you ask me, it’s certainly not impossible, but it ain’t happening.
Side note: How pissed off should the Devils be? Both the Devils and the Leafs have 84 points. The difference? The Leafs have nine shootout wins and the Devils have none. They win just four of those shootouts, which would still give them a crappy 4-7 record, and they’d be in a playoff spot right now.