The Toronto Maple Leafs face a fierce battle to make the playoffs this season, having a stat line that reads 3-4-3 in the last 10 games has done little to help their chances in getting into the playoffs. The Boston Bruins with 76 points, and having played two more games than the Maple Leafs with an important head to head match next week still remain the team in my thoughts the Maple Leafs need to overcome if they have any plans of making the playoffs.
Why is chasing Boston so important one asks, I believe this young Maple Leafs team can cause some noise in the playoffs if they can finish 3rd in their division and play one of the other teams in their division in the first round. A wild card finish as great as it may be, would see the Maple Leafs face off against the Washington Capitals first round and that isn’t an easy task for anyone in the NHL right now.
After glancing quickly over the remaining games for both the Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins you can see that the Maple Leafs can control of their favorable schedule in beating Boston for 3rd in the division. The Boston Bruins final 15 games include 12 games against teams either in the playoffs or competing with both Boston and Toronto for the final playoff spot. Toronto’s final 15 games include 11 games against teams in the playoffs or competing for the final wild card spot.
As mentioned in the previous blog 10 games that will define the 2016-2017 Maple Leafs Season, The Maple Leafs will have to take advantage of the next ten games and win the game against Boston next week if they are to make the playoffs. Luckily the Maple Leafs have avoided major injuries going into this important 10 game stretch which is key if they are to bank at least 12-16 points in the next 9 games.
What is crucial for the Maple Leafs is to make sure not to spoil another opportunity to gain ground on Boston in the next couple of games and use their head to head to pull ahead, anything less may make Boston that much harder to catch down the stretch.
There is a lot of hockey to be played, a lot can change but if the Maple Leafs can focus on one target to chase the pressure of scoreboard watching is lessened if they can get on a run in this lighter part of their schedule and take advantage of the 2 games in hand with Boston.
This is where coach Mike Babcock and the vets brought in like Matt Martin, Brian Boyle and even Frederik Andersen can have their greatest impact by guiding and mentoring these young Maple Leafs through their very first playoff chase but they can take some solace that as a team they can control their own destiny if they can get back to the form we all saw back in December and January. Another step in target Boston Bruins is tonight when the Maple Leafs face off against the Flyers, Go Leafs Go!