Mar 28, 2014, 11:39 AM EDT
When “bubble watch” last checked in on the Toronto Maple Leafs, last Wednesday, we wrote there was “still a pretty high probability” of making the playoffs.
We can no longer write that.
Because since then, the Leafs have extended their regulation losing streak from two to six and seen their postseason chances fall to 29.2 percent, according to Sports Club Stats.
Amazingly (or maybe not so amazingly considering the team’s recent history of collapses), it was just over two weeks ago, after Toronto beat Los Angeles on Mar. 13, that the Leafs’ chances were at 89.7 percent.
And it doesn’t get easier anytime soon. Tonight, it’s a game in Philadelphia against a Flyers team that’s been one of the best in the NHL since the beginning of February. Saturday, on Hockey Night in Canada, the desperate Detroit Red Wings — one of the four teams, including Toronto, in the hunt for the final two wild-card spots in the East — pay a visit to the ACC.
It’s estimated the Leafs need to gain 11 points out of a possible 16 in order to give themselves a better-than-50/50 shot of making the playoffs. Which is to say, they need to go something like 5-2-1 or 4-1-3 in their final eight games. Maybe they could get away with 5-3-0, or even 4-3-1, but that would be pushing it.
“I don’t think we’re playing that bad,” star winger Phil Kessel argued, per the Globe and Mail. “The past game (a 5-3 loss to St. Louis) we didn’t play well a little bit but we fought back. Obviously we got to play better and find some wins.
“We’re starting games terribly. We’re getting down a couple goals. They’re outplaying us for the first half of the game then all of a sudden we wake up and it’s just too late.”
- Coyotes bring back Vermette with two-year deal 3
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 37
- Bruins sign Beleskey for five years, despite some warning signs 32
- Kessel trade shows Leafs are trying to ‘build this thing the right way’ 17
- Green signs with Red Wings — 3 years, $18 million 22
- ‘It’s hard to find players like Phil Kessel’ 35
- Kassian traded to Habs for Prust; Hodgson signs with Preds 15
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins 126
- Oilers get Sekera for six years, closing in on Letestu 7
- Avalanche sign veteran d-man Beauchemin for three years 6
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (126)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)