Feb 29, 2012, 11:46 PM EST
Considering the magnified scope that naturally comes with playing in Toronto, it’s easy to roll your eyes at the latest bit of hysteria from Maple Leafs fans.
You’d have to be a sadist not to feel for them a bit at this point, though.
It appeared that the 2011-12 season would break Toronto’s post-lockout playoff drought for quite some time, but it’s looking more and more like the flawed but (formerly?) fun team will fall short again. Worse yet, they’re falling apart in about as ugly a fashion as one can imagine.
Blowing the lead
A night after inspiring the latest round of “Fire Wilson” chants, it seemed like Toronto was primed to do something fairly impressive: bouncing right back a day later to beat the Chicago Blackhawks. The Buds latched onto an early lead and built it up to 3-1, but of course it couldn’t be that easy.
Chicago stormed back to score the next four goals before Mike Brown scored a garbage goal with four seconds left to make it 5-4.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
The Maple Leafs are now 1-9-1 in a harrowing 11-game span, placing them in the thick of the East’s outside-the-playoff mud:
8. Washington: 69 points (19 games remaining)
9. Winnipeg 68 points (17 GR)
10. Toronto: 65 points (18 GR)
11. Tampa Bay: 64 points (19 GR)
12. Buffalo: 62 points (20 GR)
13. Carolina: 61 points (19 GR)
14. Islanders: 61 points (19 GR)
15. Montreal: 58 points (18 GR)
Toronto also faces eight of its next 11 games on the road, so life could get that much more miserable for the mopey Maple Leafs.
The Blackhawks aren’t out of the woods in the West, but with 75 points in 65 games played, they’re comfortably in the playoffs – even if remaining at sixth place is far from guaranteed.
I don’t think it’s a leap to say that Toronto fans would gladly accept dealing with such a “predicament.”
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head 154
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 98
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 120
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 8
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 15
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 90
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 88
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 69
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (154)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (128)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (120)
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller (98)