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 NHL.com. “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:
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.