Toronto Maple Leafs: What Must Happen For Each 1st Round Scenario

John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports) /

With the Toronto Maple Leafs locked in the playoffs, they will play one of two teams

Once again, the Toronto Maple Leafs have earned their spot in the NHL Playoffs. This time around, they finished as the division leaders. Now, the attention turns to who they will play against in the first round of the playoffs.

There are only two possible opponents now. With the Leafs playing the fourth-seed team, they will either play against the Winnipeg Jets or their longtime rival, the Montreal Canadians.

Montreal has 58 points and one game remaining, while Winnipeg has 59 points and two games remaining. That suggests it is more likely that the Habs will have to watch Auston Matthews celebrate goals in the first round.

The Jets play the Vancouver Canucks today and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday. The Habs play the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

The mathematics of the Toronto Maple Leafs 1st Round Matchup

It is mathematically possible for Toronto to play the Jets if the Jets lose both games, with Montreal winning their finale. A tie-breaker favors the Jets with a 6-3 record over MTL. A loss tomorrow for the Habs means they will play against their bitter rivals.

Montreal was bit by the injury bug, as they have two top players on injured reserve in Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin. That, along with their defenseman Shea Weber, goaltender Carey Price, and forwards Ryan Poehling and Phillip Danault out with injuries.

The Habs lost the past four games, with one of them being in overtime. That means things aren’t looking well heading into their game. That is especially so against a team that won nine of their last 11 games.

The Jets play the Canucks, who are the bottom team in the Scotia North Division. Winnipeg’s record against Vancouver this season is a comfortable 5-2.

They have been on the downtrend lately, losing nine of their last ten games. That is partly due to them losing star forward Nikolaj Ehlers, along with a couple of middle pieces.

Both scenarios are possible, but it appears more likely the Toronto Maple Leafs will play the Montreal Canadians for the first time since 1979, which for context, is the year Joe Thornton was born. A Toronto vs Montreal series has classic potential, but maybe some Leafs fans would prefer to face the Jets, who have been ice-cold lately?

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What matchup would you rather see in round one?