Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle looks on with players, left to right, Nazem Kadri, Joffrey Lupul, and Peter Holland against the New York Rangers during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Toronto, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Mark Blinch)

Leafs still hopeful for playoffs, though they’ve probably blown it already


Chances are, the Toronto Maple Leafs have dug a hole that’s too deep from which to escape.

That’s what an eight-game losing streak will do.

Still, a win tonight over the visiting Bruins — and maybe combine it with a Columbus loss in Philadelphia? — and, well, you never know.

“We understand where we’re at and where we need to go, so tonight’s an important building step in that direction,” Leafs forward Nazem Kadri said, per “We’ve got to make sure we come out ready to go.”

That last part may have been cliché, but it’s also true. Toronto was anything but “ready to go” in most of the games during that epic losing streak, which only ended Tuesday with a 3-2 win over Calgary.

Again, it’s highly likely the Leafs have already blown their postseason hopes. Even if they win all five of their remaining games, they could still miss the playoffs. According to Sports Club Stats, if they go 4-1-0 their chances are just 27.6 percent.

The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle went so far as to create a chart detailing how Toronto can sneak back in:


Writes Mirtle:

The biggest threat, in other words, is obviously Columbus, as the Jackets don’t need to be world beaters to stay ahead of Toronto, even if the Leafs play well.

If Columbus goes better than 4-3-0, the Leafs can’t catch them.

Related: Playoff bubble watch — Blue Jackets edition

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?