Leafs playoff hopes slipping away

Two weeks were all it took for the Toronto Maple Leafs to put their playoff hopes in jeopardy.

The Leafs have eight games left in their season, and the next few weeks will make or break their chances at a post-season appearance. Their recent six-game skid has put them on the bubble for what should have been a guaranteed playoff spot.

They are currently sitting in tenth place in the Eastern Conference. Technically, they are in a four-way tie for seventh with 80 points, but the three teams ahead of them in the standings have one or two games in hand.

Here is the comparison of where they stood Mar. 16, and where they stand Mar. 27:


The playoff fate of the team is no longer entirely in their hands. They have to start winning games. They also have to hope that teams like Detroit, Columbus and Washington suddenly go on a similar slide.

With the playoffs starting Apr. 16, Leafs fans will be watching those teams closely. According to sportsclubstats.com, the Leafs now have a 25 per cent chance at the playoffs. These statistics are fluid and there is plenty of room for the Leafs to turn it around in time.


However, it will be an uphill battle for the team. Not even the return of Jonathan Bernier on Mar. 25 could inspire a victory. That 5-3 loss to the playoff bound St. Louis Blues highlighted the weaknesses in the Leafs game.

They allowed 48 shots on Bernier during his first game back from a groin injury. As a result, captain Dion Phaneuf and coach Randy Carlyle became the latest scapegoats. The media and fans have been highly critical, but maintain that the Leafs are capable of making the playoffs.




If the Leafs fail to launch the comeback that their fans are hoping for, it will be the first time since 1973 that only one Canadian team has made the playoffs. This would be a heartbreaking result for a fan base that has already been waiting 47 years for a Stanley Cup winner.

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