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Stamkos’ hat trick adds to Toronto’s slump

Mar 19, 2014, 9:58 PM EDT

About a week ago, the Maple Leafs’ entry into the 2014 playoffs looked like a foregone conclusion. Now their hold on a postseason spot is tenuous after Tampa Bay’s 5-3 victory on the strength of a Steven Stamkos hat trick.

It was Stamkos’ second hat trick of the season, which is a remarkable feat on its own, but becomes even more impressive when you remember that he missed most of the 2013-14 campaign with a broken tibia. He now has 19 goals and 30 points in just 24 games this season.

On the other end of the spectrum, Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer had a rough night, stopping just 25 of 30 shots after being called “just okay” by coach Randy Carlyle following Tuesday’s defeat. Although Reimer isn’t solely at fault for the five goals allowed, he didn’t look great tonight.

Toronto has now lost four of its last five games. With 80 points in 71 games, the Maple Leafs still hold the first Wild Card spot, but they are down to a four-point cushion over the Washington Capitals in the battle for a playoff spot. Toronto has played in one extra contest.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has now won four straight contests and have gained the edge over the Montreal Canadiens in the battle for the second seed in the Atlantic Division.

Related:

Leafs-Lightning period ends early after Killorn boards Ranger (Update: He’s in stable condition)

  1. stunzeed5 - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    From broken leg to hat trick….Stamkos is a supreme athlete and a bonafide superstar. Imagine if he played in NY, BOS, CHI etc. yikes, he might actually get some national attention!

    • hockey412 - Mar 20, 2014 at 8:28 AM

      He’s amazing, alright. But I know pretty much every fan of all other 29 teams are jealous of TBL – what more national attention should he get?

  2. themagicfanguy - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    The Stammer! Go Bolts!

  3. lowenni - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    He’s baaaaaaack.

  4. lowenni - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    He’s baaaaaaack.

  5. elguapo12 - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Leafs wish every season ended in February…

  6. bsaures - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    Its funny a while back on another site I pointed out that the leafs playoffs were far from secure especially because they played alot of games against teams fighting them for their spot in the playoffs. Outside the western road trip they have played 7 games against teams within their grasps. They have only won 2 of those games (giving the loser teams a point also in both wins) and only gotten 5 of 14 points. 4 of the next 5 games are also against close teams so if they dont win the majority of them they could be looking outside soon especially if they lose to detroit again.

    • bsaures - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      In march

  7. bildomac07 - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Great sequence by Lupul… Haha yikes!

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