Mar 29, 2014, 10:06 PM EDT
If the Toronto Maple Leafs came into tonight as a “wounded bear,” then some might feel that the Detroit Red Wings put them out of their misery on Saturday with a 4-2 decision.
Darren Helm generated his first hat trick tonight:
… While Jimmy Howard made some big saves, including this one:
It’s probably unfair to rule out the Maple Leafs altogether, although it’s quite possible that they’ve buried themselves with this eight-game losing streak. Joffrey Lupul went from optimistic to glum after this one.
Lupul "it's hard to stay positive. … We pretty much had to have this one"—
Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) March 30, 2014
There are a lot of salt-in-the-wounds notes from this one, even beyond the fact that the Maple Leafs are facing a Red Wings team that is banged up (so Jonathan Bernier not being 100 percent excuses probably fall on deaf ears). For one thing, this collapse has been downright historic:
Phaneuf : "This loss is the most disappointing of the eight, that's for sure"—
John Shannon (@JSportsnet) March 30, 2014
If that isn’t enough, it appears that Phil Kessel might have gotten injured during the game, possibly when a one-timer pass seemed to hit him in the foot. (He was seen grimacing on the bench but played on while receiving significant criticism.)
And it gets worse
Sorry to pile on, Maple Leafs fans, but just about every other East bubble team (other than Washington) made the situation even bleaker on Saturday.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets won in overtime.
- The New Jersey Devils managed a “charity point” before losing yet another shootout.
- Things obviously improved for Detroit, too.
Here is an East outlook via NBC Sports:
Things look pretty grim from both a standings and games in hand standpoint for the Maple Leafs, opening up the possibility that this will be viewed as the night that the Leafs’ playoff hopes died.
Condolences to all Maple Leafs fans, especially the hardest-hitting ones.
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- Two down, one to go: Wings ink Tatar to three-year, $8.25M deal 11
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal 62
- Subban not eager to discuss contract talks 33
- Leafs re-sign Reimer — two years, $4.6 million 22
- Gorges still can’t explain falling out of favor in Montreal 13
- Eller, Habs agree to four-year, $14 million contract 10
- Cory Sarich hospitalized following cycling accident, expects ‘full recovery’ 7
- Stamkos shrugs off talk of LeBron-like homecoming to Toronto in 2016 31
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain 45
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 (69)
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal (62)
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain (45)
- Arena deal in jeopardy? Glendale mayor requests investigation into ‘clear violation’ of state law (42)
- Zuccarello takes Rangers’ one year, $3.5M deal (42)