Leafs’ Lupul: ‘We still believe’

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The Toronto Maple Leafs lost their sixth game in a row on Tuesday and didn’t look very good, either. While it’s true that the St. Louis Blues have done that to plenty opponents this season, it’s easy to see why Maple Leafs fans are losing hope.

The team itself generally put on a brave face, especially Joffrey Lupul, as the Canadian Press reports.

“Certainly we’re afraid of letting it slip away,” Lupul said. “The whole year we’ve thought we were a playoff team, and we still believe that now … Realistically we’re still right there with these other teams.”

James van Riemsdyk backed him up, telling Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston “we have a lot of fight in us.”

Still, the question of that minimal early effort in particular hangs in the air; Jonathan Bernier’s strong play helped them stay in the game early despite playing poorly enough that head coach Randy Carlyle described the team as “frozen” during the first 30 minutes.

Not everyone even addressed the loss, either.

Either way, the Maple Leafs are out of the East’s top eight, although Lupul is right in saying they’re “right there” as Toronto ranks among four East teams with 80 standings points.