Thursday, March 29, 2007

Killing two or more birds with one stone

The week has gone magnificently thus far, as covered by the team here at BBP and you know, having your eyes open. The Maple Leafs have moved up to ninth, two points back of Montreal and Tampa for the seventh and eighth spots and three back of the Rangers for sixth. We sit tied with the Islanders and the Hurricanes at 84 points, although we sit on top due to more wins over New York and less games played than Carolina. That's another big advantage for us over the three teams in front of us, all of whom are within three points: we've got a game in hand over everyone.

Tonight Toronto spends that extra game, and we go up against the Atlanta Thrashers. Earlier in the week I was pretty scared of them, but now Atlanta has lost three straight and only sits five points ahead of Toronto (and once again, the Leafs have a game in hand). Obviously, Toronto can't end up in third, but hurting the Thrashers only helps us, as having all three of the Southeast teams being forced to take only one spot (the division title, giving them third) leaves more spots for us. If Carolina, Tampa, and Atlanta keep losing, it's not likely all three will get in. Which is good news.

Technically, we can't actually move up in the standings tonight, given that Toronto is involved in the only Eastern game of the evening. Even if we pick up the win, we'll still sit in ninth. We'll be tied with Tampa/Montreal, but we won't have the game in hand anymore and we have less wins than both of those teams.

Still, we need the win once again. I'll call it a must-win situation, and that's because we're giving up the precious extra game. We NEED the two points to continue the drive. If we win tonight, and all three of the big games tomorrow night go our way (Tampa and Carolina NOT going to overtime, preferably with a Tampa win I suppose; Ottawa beating Montreal in regulation and Buffalo beating the DiPietro-less Islanders in regulation), and we get a little bit of luck combined with a win on Saturday, we could conceivably be battling the Rangers for sixth place on Sunday. With us possibly walking in with the lead in that race. I don't know about you guys, but I'm damn excited.

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