Game Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs v.s. Florida Panthers
We can’t afford another effort like last night.
When the Leafs play Florida tonight, a loss could devastating: it would eliminate any hope of winning our division and mean the highest we could finish is fifth.
Ever worse, it could result in the New York Islanders leapfrogging us – if we lose and they beat the Flyers, they’d move into fifth and we’d drop to sixth.
We can’t afford that.
Because that would position us to face the red-hot Washington Capitals and Ovechkin(!) in the first round.
That would very likely decrease our chances of making it through the first round.
I’d love to face Boston, but only because playing Montreal feels like taking the easy way out. There’s an earlier post on that.
But, of course, most Leafs fans want Montreal, and that would be an epic series – and one we could win, too, especially if we open at home.
That is very possible.
All Toronto has to do is beat the Panthers tonight, hope the Jets beat Montreal later tonight, and then beat Montreal at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday. This is assuming, of course, that Boston takes the division and second place in the East.
That scenario would leave us tied with Montreal at 59 points – we’d take fourth and they’d take fifth based on the tiebreaker.
It’d be a dream come true and leave us with a good chance of making it to the second round.
That’s why these last three games still counted, big time. We dropped the first of the three yesterday, in horrible fashion.
Now we have two left, and they ARE VERY IMPORTANT. We have not lost to the last place Panthers yet this year...
Go Leafs Go. Cheers.