A last chance for the Maple Leafs in 2014

28 Mar 2014 by admin, Comments Off on A last chance for the Maple Leafs in 2014

Time is quickly running out for Toronto, a team that was virtually qualified for the playoffs just two weeks ago. Things went terribly wrong since then and now the Maple Leafs are on the verge of missing the postseason while matching their longest losing streak in eight years. Six consecutive defeats have virtually crippled the Canadians and made it unlikely for them to win the first Stanley Cup in 47 years.

torontoHome ice advantage didn’t help them much over the stretch and the most recent defeat against St. Louis only aggravated their problems. They are still in the race for a wild-card but the odds of qualifying directly by finishing third in their division are remote to say the least. The nine point lead they had in early March has all but vanished and now their chances to make the playoffs are no more than 20%.

Overall, they are huge underdogs to win the Stanley Cup and if we take a closer look at their lineup, we will find plenty of reasons. Toronto is struggling on all fronts and while their defenses look like Swiss cheese, their few quality forwards are completely out the form. The only good news is that both Detroit and Washington are struggling to win back-to-back games, while Columbus has a difficult schedule ahead

Canadian fans are still 100% behind their favorite team even though they are fading in the standings and their chances to make the playoffs are dwindling. Dave Bolland and David Clarkson are expected to save the team in the last eight games of the regular season, but so far they were mildly disappointing. The two players came to Toronto with high expectations and fell flat, by scoring a handful of goals and spending a lot of time on the bench, injured.

Jonathan Bernier is the kind of goaltender that can keep the team alive during the playoffs, but Toronto needs to get that far first. He replaced Reimer who was also a gifted goaltender, so his addition doesn’t weigh heavily in the balance and it would be a mistake to overestimate his contribution. Overall, the Leafs are in dire straits and they need to rebound quickly and stage an incredible comeback just to play hockey in the second half of April. Right now only the most dedicated fans will wager on this outcome.

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