Tuesday was a really rough night for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just because the Florida Panthers handed them a humbling 7-2 loss.
Now, that’s not to say that they weren’t angry about such a lopsided defeat.
This brutal stretch for Nikita Zaitsev felt like a good synopsis of Toronto’s night:
Again, though, it wasn’t just about the loss. Consider how scoreboard watching likely left the Leafs cringing:
- The Islanders took the East’s second wild card spot after a big turnaround and overtime win.
- Tampa Bay finishes the night ahead of Toronto, too, after managing an OT win of their own. The Senators grabbed a point in defeat there, too, which is unlikely to be relevant but doesn’t help matters.
- The odds are against the Panthers even after this win, but they can more comfortably continue to at least dream of a playoff push after beating the Maple Leafs.
Yikes, that’s just no good.
If you’re more of a visual learner, consider how the Maple Leafs are now seated at 10th in the East:
Second wild card: Islanders – 77 points in 69 games (32 ROW, 33 W)
Lightning – 77 in 69 games (30 ROW, 34 W)
Maple Leafs – 76 in 68 games (30 ROW, 31 W)
Panthers – 71 in 68 games (26 ROW, 30 W)
No, the Maple Leafs aren’t hopeless by any stretch. Still, a win in this one could have really shaken away the Panthers while giving Toronto a pretty clear edge over the other bubble teams.
Instead, they finish the night in 10th in the conference and with a bit of a mess to clean up.