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Loser of tonight’s Carolina-Toronto game is eliminated from playoff contention

Mar 27, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

James Reimer; Chad LaRose

While it doesn’t have the allure that tonight’s Sabres-Capitals game does, there’s something on the line for the Leafs and Hurricanes for their battle in Toronto.

The loser of their game tonight is officially eliminated from playoff contention and as David Steckel tells Sportsnet, for some reason the Leafs want to keep winning.

“We’re trying to win every game regardless of whether we get booed or we get cheered,” Toronto’s David Steckel said after a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday.

While no one is going to catch Columbus for the worst record in the league, the 29th spot is still up for grabs with the Canadiens and Oilers there with 71 points. Finishing lower means being able to slide into a spot in the draft to land any of Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko, or Alex Galchenyuk.

With the Leafs and Hurricanes both at 75 points with just a handful of games to go and the bottom of the standings being as packed as the top, wins can push you into a lower pick and not being able to get at the top-end talent in this year’s draft class. For teams like the Leafs and Hurricanes who could use elite draft talent to turn things around, winning for pride only hurts the future.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Typical Leafs: wait until they’re all but mathematically eliminated then go on a tear.

    Maybe it has something to do with job security. These guys probably don’t want some high draft pick coming in and stealing their jobs so they make sure the Leafs’ drafting postion is mediocre at best.

  2. drewsylvania - Mar 27, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    This is pretty good for Bruins fans. Either their toughest opponent will be eliminated, or they’ll get to laugh.

  3. deeboy - Mar 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    ^ That’s a good one Drew. For some reason, the Canes have been a pain in the arse for the Bruins. Of course they turn around and become the Islanders’ beeyotch.

    The Canes’ reluctance to make a coaching change during last off-season killed them this year. By the time Muller took over, the hole was already too deep. Maybe next year…

    • drewsylvania - Mar 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      It’s weird, too, because the Canes don’t think they need an overhaul–they signed all their top players to big contracts.

      • lonespeed - Mar 27, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        Carolina has a good team, it just got off to a really bad start.

        It’s good they are not overhauling. Too many teams across all sports go into panic mode when things don’t go well for a season or two. The continuity will serve them well. Next year could be completely different with virtually the same roster.

      • xavier46 - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:59 PM

        What Drew really means is that he would prefer if Cam Ward could replace Timmy in a year and if Eric Stall could join in. You know, overhaul the roster in Carolina.

  4. brockohol - Mar 27, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    I think the key word in that headline is loser

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