The Toronto Maple Leafs will play their 5th to last game of the season tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are 11-1-1 which is an incredible 88.5 points-percentage over 15% of an entire season.
To say that the Leafs are hot is an understatement.
The crazy thing is that the teams ahead of the Leafs just don’t lose. On the season they have a .701 points-percentage, which is immaculate, and would normally win the President’s Trophy.
The Panthers have won 10 in a row, while the Avalanche are 8-2 in their last ten. The Leafs are likely better than both teams (at least by a one to one roster comparison) but the standings aren’t going to say so, because five games likely isn’t enough to catch them.
(Though it is still technically a mathematical possibility).
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning
The Toronto Maple Leafs currently hold an eight point lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning, though Tampa has six games left, not five.
The most points Tampa can finish with are 112, but if the Leafs win tonight, they will have 110, and the loss will limit Tampa to a maximum points total of 110.
The tie-breaker for playoff seeding is regulation wins, and the Leafs currently have seven more of those than Tampa, who only have six remaining games.
Therefore, a win tonight by the Toronto Maple Leafs will clinch them home-ice advantage against Tampa in the playoffs.
However, the Boston Bruins could still technically finish with 111 points, and so they would have a chance to overtake the Leafs, even if the Leafs beat Tampa, should the Leafs lose all the rest of their games and Boston win theirs.
Should Boston lose to Pittsburgh tonight, a Leafs win will guarantee them 2nd in the Atlantic and home-ice in round one.
As for the actual game, Erik Kallgren will start in place of Jack Campbell, who played the last two games. Kallgren has played nine games so far and has a save percentage under .900, which is pretty much what you’d expect for the fourth goalie on your depth chart.
Hilariously, he has six wins in nine games. The Toronto Maple Leafs are just that good.
As for Auston Matthews and his pursuit of 60 goals, that is again on hold as the superstar will be taking a third game off to nurse a minor injury. At least we hope that what Keefe is saying is the truth.
I have no problem with this, ultimately, individual goals are not important and a healthy Matthews for round one is obviously a key to success.