Still Twelfth, But. . .
Two things are known.
One, the Maple Leafs might be able to survive with an overtime or a shootout defeat, but one more regulation loss and they're cooked.
Two, sweeping the Bruins this week will have them in some kind of enhanced position by Friday, perhaps not a playoff berth but something better, and will have the ACC rockin' Saturday night against Montreal.
Minus their former GM, John Ferguson, and six vets once thought critical by many - Hal Gill, Chad Kilger, Wade Belak, Carlo Colaiacovo, Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov - the Leafs played terrific hockey last week in piecing together three straight road wins with a lineup of young leaders and Marlie callups.
So now Sundin's ready, or close to being ready.
And isn't this interesting?
Leaf fans, of course, remember the team that fought through the 2002 playoffs largely without Sundin then fell to Carolina in the conference championship even though the captain was back.
Of course you put him back in ASAP, right? Right?
Yes. But as the franchise mulls over what to do with No. 13 this summer - somebody's mulling, correct? - it would be an intriguing and complicating factor if Sundin returns but isn't able to help keep this snowball rolling.
The Bruins, to be sure, are a vulnerable team these days, and lost again to Montreal on Saturday to lose all eight against the Habs this season.
Maybe the Leafs should come out wearing red tomorrow and Thursday.