Here is why Toronto has a chance at the playoffs…

Most people are writing Toronto’s chances of making the playoffs and while I will admit they have an uphill battle there are several positives on their side.

They play 2 games against Montreal. If they win those 2 games they will close the game on Montreal by 4 points. They also play Tampa on Saturday and could close the gap on them by 2 points as well.

They have 2 games against Pittsburgh who weren’t very good to start with and now are even worse that they have traded Recchi and Jackman. They play 3 games against the Islanders who have just traded Parrish, Kvasha, Sopel and Lukowich and won’t be near as good a team as they were 2 days ago (and they weren’t very good then either). They play 2 games against Boston who just traded away Samsonov and weren’t a very good team to start with. They also have a game against Florida. That is 8 fairly easy games.

The downside is that they play Buffalo 4 times and they have a lot of trouble with Buffalo. They also play Philadelphia twice and Ottawa, New Jersey, and the Rangers once each. They will probably need to win at minimum 6 or 7 of those 12 games to have a chance at the playoffs which is possible but will be a challenge.

If they win both games against Montreal, the game against Tampa, 6 of those 8 ‘easy’ games and 5 of the 11 ‘difficult’ games they will go 14-7 which will give them 89 points and a potential shot at the playoffs. Taking out the 7 games against Ottawa, Toronto is a combined 7-7-1 against those other difficult teams (NYR, Phi, Car, NJ) so going 5 for 11 in those games is definitely achievable.

Speak ing of Tampa, they are playing horrible having lost 4 of 5 since the Olympics and I don’t think they will make the playoffs. Either Toronto, or more likely Atlanta will catch them.

This article has 10 Comments

  1. it all comes to the game against Montreal, if they can win both, they sure have a pretty good shot.

    Montreal last 9 games: 2 Buf, 2 NJ, 2 Ott, 3 Bos
    Wow, what a tough finish for the habs !!

    Atlanta may steal the 8th spot, you know they are in the one the worst division and plays a lot of games against lowly Washington and Florida late in the season.

  2. I like Atlanta’s chances of making the playoffs. They have some tough games (2 against Ottawa, 2 against Carolina, Rangers, Flyers, Buffalo) but end with a good schedule – Florida, Tampa, Carolina, Tampa, Washington, Boston, Washington, Florida.

  3. Motreal has a pretty good schedule actually…

    they play washinton 2 times
    pitts. 2 times
    boston 3 times
    NYI once

    there is ten games here at which they should be able to pick it up a notch and win them all maybe lose one or two of these? still collecting a min of 16 points….

    T.O plays

    pitts 2 times
    NYI 3 times
    Boston 2 times

    they play buffalo 3 times who seems to have their # philly a few times carolina a few so they really have their work cut out

    I agree with everyone that they MUST beat montreal both games….If they split I think they are done….

    So I think Montreal has a slight edge here…up 6 points plus mont has a bit of a weaker schedule by 3 or so games angainst easier teams

    I can’t see T.O making it …

    Atlanta however

    2 games vs boston
    2 NYI
    2 Washington
    2 florida ? still an ok team…

    play was 2 games
    NYI 1
    Florida 4 games wow ….
    Pitts 1
    montreal and T.O once each.
    atlanta like i said above 3 games

    they play atlanta 3 games also which will mean alot…which in turn could also help T.O If atlanta beat tampa all 3 that will knock down tampa and if T.O can beat Montreal twice this could really be a barn burner of a race…..

    I think it’s going to be an awesome race….

    It will come down to who chokes on the easy games….and who rises up against the hard teams obviously….but I think the weaker games are more important here…

    edge going to Montreal


  4. It’s definitely a 3 team (Tampa, Montreal, and Atlanta) race for the final 2 playoff spots and Toronto has an outside shot of making it a 4 team race if they win the key games and get a bit of help from some losses by the teams in front of them. If I had to make a prediction I would say Montreal and Atlanta make the playoffs.

  5. Everyone doubts the Leafs eh? Heres my prediction… last game wa the start of a long winning streak…I’ll guess and say 7 games. Toronto and Tampa Bay grab the 7 and 8 spots in the East. There’s still over 20 games to play…lots of hockey to play. Way too early to say the Leafs are hot. One hot streak and we’re good

  6. I agree, they do still have a reasonable chance at the playoffs because everything is a divisional/conference game. However, I think what will bite the Leafs in the ass is the point awarded to losing teams in OT/shootout. You watch, the Leafs will end up beating the teams they need to, but in OT. Can’t make up enough ground 1 point at a time.

  7. All Divisional games are tough.
    Those games against WSH won’t be a cakewalk for Atlanta.

    Look at the rest of the Month for the MTL Canadiens however.

    – H – Rangers
    – H – Lightning
    – H – Carolina
    – H – Pittsburgh
    – A – Wershington
    – A – Islanders
    – H – Toronto
    – H – Toronto
    – A – Pittsburgh
    – H – Islanders
    – H – Wershington

    Now let’s get real here folks, the MTL loss to the buds was an awful game. Toronto was/is being trashed in the media. MTL was playing its second game in a row on the road, in the middle of a 6 game swing since the Olympic break ended.

    Toronto is bad. Even worse with Lindros done for the year. They simply wanted to win that game and MTL didn’t look like they cared.

    Assume for a second that Toronto is not going to make the playoffs, then looking at the Hab schedule for March,

    Home to 3 teams right off the bat that have winning records . . . and the habbies are 3-0 against the Lightning this year and compete well with the Strangers of NY.

    The rest are all losing teams and usually IN Montreal.

    MTL could and most likely will dominate the month of March. They are 4-1-1 and that 6 game road trip. A few tough games, but the rest should be good.

    The Leafs need to worry about Tampa Bay, Jersey and Atlanta, MTL will be in the playoff picture. Especially now that they have a decent goalie to share in this compressed schedule.

    Of course, barring any ill-timed injuries.

  8. It is impossible for the terrible Leafs to make the playoffs! They are just not a good team. Way to many old unproductive players and a lack of any good young talent. I’m sure most Junior A hockey teams would be competitive against the Leafs most nite’s. John Ferguson is a terrible GM. C’mon John dump your salary cap hogs and get somebody who can skate across the rink in less the the 2 minutes that it takes Allison to cover the lenght of the ice!

  9. haha i dont think any Junior A teams can beat the Leafs. thats a bit drastic. The Leafs are not a good team this year, thats pretty obvious. I just have a hunch that the Leafs will pick it up last few weeks of the season and push for a playoff spot. Quinn doesn’t tolerate laziness and bad defensive players. Domi was benched vs the NY Isles and I love that idea. Keep him out…Antropov as well. Bring up Pole, Ondrus, and even Aubin. Young guys play with heart, cause they want to be at the NHL level. Maybe thats what the Leafs need right now. I think it will be close for the 8th spot…might come down to the final night. Personally i think the schedule favours the Leafs towards the last 20 games. The Habs and Thrashers have a hard schedule coming up. We’ll see who is the better team.

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