Maple Leafs 2, Islanders 5
We were oh so close to making the Leafs~Habs game Saturday night the one that decides the 8th playoff spot in the East, but the Islanders blew it. Ok, the Leafs blew it, and we no longer control our own fate. Let me break this down for you dudes and dudettes.
The New York Islanders have a precious game in hand, so even if we beat Montreal on Saturday night, the Islanders can take the 8th spot by winning their last two against Philadelphia and New Jersey.
That Philadelphia game, however, is a 1pm start on Saturday. So it will be over well before the Leafs game at 7pm. Should Philadelphia manage to defeat Wade Dubielewicz and the Long Island boys we'll get the game we're hoping for. We'll just have to win to qualify for the post season.
If the Islanders beat Philly, we have to win and hope the Devils beat the Islanders on Sunday. Sadly, we're definitely toast if we don't beat the Habs tomorrow, and I have little faith we'll get that done. I've watched this team night after night and I've come to the realization that we're not very good and there's little hope for the future.
<rant>A good hockey team starts with solid goaltending, dependable defensemen forwards who can score and leaders who can motivate and lead by example. There are other important elements, like fore-checking and special teams, but those first four are vital. The Toronto Maple Leafs are hurting in each category.
Andrew Raycroft's glove hand cost us the game last night. Our defensive core of McCabe, Kubina and Gill is both overpaid and a major liability. Our forwards simply don't score, and that goes for the guy who seems hell bent on letting Sittler keep his franchise record. If Mats Sundin had found the net even a few times these past few weeks we'd have clinched a playoff berth long ago. As for leadership, Mats never had the fire in his belly and Tucker's the closest thing we have to a true captain. How is this team going to get any better next year or the year after?
I say we keep Kaberle and Carlo on D, Tucker, Wellwood and the inexpensive youngsters Steen and Stajan for the third line, and blow up the rest. It will never happen, but it's the kind of dramatic overhaul this team leads or we'll be praying for miracles each spring just to make the playoffs where we'll fizzle out in five or six to a better team with players who can put the puck in the net and a goalie who can keep it out.</rant>
|Current Record||Last Games||Season Leaders|
9th in Eastern Conference
|5-2 Loss vs. New York Islanders
3-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
7-2 Loss vs. New York Rangers
|M. Sundin - 73
T. Kaberle - 56
B. McCabe - 56
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