Toronto Maple Leafs: Clinching Playoffs No Longer an Accomplishment

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 29: Alex Galchenyuk #12 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Edmonton Oilers during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on March 29, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Oilers defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 29: Alex Galchenyuk #12 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Edmonton Oilers during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on March 29, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Oilers defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Toronto Maple Leafs have clinched a playoff berth for the fifth season in a row.

After a game in which it is at least a possibility that William Nylander and John Tavares were going through a Freaky Friday situation in which their bodies were inhabited by people who are not quality NHL superstars, the Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a spot in the playoffs.

Big deal.

When the Leafs clinched a playoff spot five years ago to face Washington, I was excited.  That team had no business making the playoffs and the surprise success was great.  But you really only get to impress people with one playoff appearance, and after that it’s expected.

The Leafs have gone from plucky up-and-comers to perennial contenders, and as such can no longer be satisfied by just making it. (And yes, they did make the playoffs last year.  Had the season ended normally, there is nearly a 100% chance they would have made it. Whatever happened in the play-in is besides the point, since it was a random five game series six months after the season ended. Besides, even if you don’t agree with me, play-in stats count as playoff stats, so that’s pretty much the end of the argument).

With their fifth straight playoff appearance, it’s old hat. It’s OK to take that for granted.  It’s still awesome that the Toronto Maple Leafs have become a perennial playoff team,  but any team where William Nylander is your fourth best player better make the damn playoffs.

Next step: win the division, win a playoff series, win the Presidents Trophy, win the Stanley Cup.  These are things to get excited about.

Toronto Maple Leafs News and Notes

The Leafs beat the Canadiens last night in a game where, outside the Matthews line, they didn’t really do much.  I thought Campbell was pretty great though.

Tonight the Leafs will take on the Canucks, and it would really be a twist to beat the Canadiens and then lose to the Canucks the next night.  Not that the Canucks really have  a chance to make the playoffs – they’d have to run the table while the Canadiens would need to implode – but stranger things have happened.

Not that I’m cheering for this scenario, you understand. I want the Leafs to play the Canadiens in the playoffs, and even more I want them to win the President’s Trophy, although that’s a bit of a longshot at this point.

Vegas has a game in hand, a fine point lead and a really easy division.  As for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they’ve lost just three times in regulation in their last 18 games.  I also read on twitter last night that they’ve never had so many points after 49 games in their franchise history.

dark. Next. Leafs Game 1 Playoff Lineup

So, while making the playoffs is sweet, it’s obvious this team has higher asperations.