In what was most likely their last chance to keep pace with the Eastern Conference’s other playoff hopefuls, the Toronto Maple Leafs played a pretty damn poor game on Saturday night, losing 4-2 to the Detroit Red Wings.
According to Sports Club Stats, the Leafs now have a 6.5% chance of making the postseason. That even seems a little generous.
What makes this game most frustrating is that, for once, the Leafs actually got off to a pretty good start. Toronto outplayed and outshot Detroit in the first, taking the lead on a Cody Franson slapper at the 11-minute mark and carrying it into the intermission.
From there it was all downhill. Darren Helm tied the game up while short-handed, Gustav Nyquist scored his 26th of the season just over a minute later, and Helm made it 3-1 before second period was even ten minutes old.
And as tempted as I was to turn the TV off and cry in the shower with a box of cookies, I’m glad I didn’t. It’s hard to watch such a game, but stay with it long enough and Morgan Rielly will make it alright. Look at this pass on Joffrey Lupul’s late second period goal:
Jonathan Bernier, starting for the second game in two nights, played a decent game. His stats suggest differently, allowing four goals on 28 shots and sporting a .857 SV%, but it’s hard to put up good numbers when the team in front of you gives up breakaways and prime shorthanded chances.
Why The Leafs Lost
If you listen to the guys on the CBC broadcast, the Leafs lost because they were unlucky. I don’t know CBC guys, I think the Leafs were just plain bad.
Like, wow. Let’s be real – Rielly is the best and is a gem and will save us all. And remember, Brian Burke had him as the top guy in the 2012 Draft. Smart guy, that Brian Burke.
That assist was Rielly’s only point of the game, but combined with 18:41 in ice time, it was good enough to earn him the second star of the game. Also worthy of some praise is Jake Gardiner, who lead the Leafs in ice time with over 23 minutes and assisted on both Leafs goals. Some would argue that Gardiner should be tonight’s Blue Warrior, but hey, that Rielly pass. Sorry Jake.
- Phil Kessel got an x-ray on his foot following the game. Because tonight wasn’t going badly enough.
- Currently sitting 19th overall, the Leafs are within striking distance of a top ten draft pick. That’s pretty cool because in my opinion this is a pretty good draft.
- This tweet from @D8RLENE is pretty funny.
Guy behind me screaming, “Randy, Workopolis!” Made my night. #Leafs
— Dar (@D8RLENE) March 30, 2014