Mar 28, 2014, 11:39 AM EST
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.”
- Rutherford: ‘Our guys felt very strongly about reacquiring’ Lovejoy 43
- Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline 66
- Giordano to have surgery, is ‘done for the season’ 20
- PHT’s 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker 35
- Ducks get their veteran d-man, adding Wisniewski from Columbus 14
- Lovejoy returns to Pittsburgh for Despres 50
- Wild get Stewart as Buffalo-to-Minnesota pipeline continues 53
- Jordan Leopold’s daughter may have orchestrated the Minnesota trade 17
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils 73
- Can the Wings and Leafs work out a deal for Phaneuf? 49
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (171)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils (73)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)