The bright side for the Toronto Maple Leafs is they’re on the verge of making their first playoff appearance since 2004.
The potential dark side is there’s a good chance they’ll be facing a team that’s absolutely dominated them in the past couple of regular seasons.
According to Sports Club Stats, the Leafs and Bruins are the most likely first-round playoff match-up. Toronto has a 63 percent shot of finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference, while Boston is at 60 percent to finish fourth.
Granted, when you combine the two probabilities, there’s a better chance (62%) that the two teams don’t meet. But wouldn’t it be something if it happened?
The optimistic Leafs fan (if that’s something that still exists after all these years of playoff misses) will point out that Toronto finally beat Boston a couple of weeks ago, ending an eight-game losing streak against the 2011 Stanley Cup champs.
As for other potential first-round matchups, a Penguins-Islanders series is at around 20 percent while, in the West, there’s a decent chance (35%) the Blackhawks and Red Wings renew their historic rivalry.