Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday, March 26

Yesterday both New York teams faced off and of COURSE it went to overtime. The Rangers prevailed and overtake the Lightning for sixth, while the Islanders lose their game in hand over Carolina and Toronto but move into a tie for eighth.

You know, there's not much to say today. The Leafs have the day off, resting up for a HUGE game in Carolina tomorrow night before coming back to this area for a three-games-in-four-nights stretch starting Thursday (Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and the Rangers).

It goes without saying that the Carolina game is an absolute must win, far more than other "must-win" games have been lately. A clean (regulation) win over the Hurricanes not only puts the Leafs up at 84 points, which right now seems to be the "going rate" (although, given that Montreal, Tampa, and both New York teams are also playing tomorrow, that could very well change), but it keeps Carolina from getting farther ahead, which was the big problem with Saturday's emotional win (that everyone else won, too). But of course, I'm sure all three of us are going to chime in tomorrow with more detailed (me), emotional (Steve), and irrelevant (Jared) thoughts. And isn't that why you come here?

As for the weekend, well, all three of those teams are flying right now and will be really tough to beat. Atlanta's lost their last two, but one of those because of a fluke goal against Pittsburgh yesterday and the other was against San Jose, when Jonathan Cheechoo suddenly remembered he was a 50 goal scorer last year. Pittsburgh is 7-2-1 in their last ten and are making a strong push for the Atlantic division title. The Rangers have won 5 straight, are 7-1-2 in their last ten, and have the best goalie in the entire league for the past two months or so in Henrik Lundqvist.

There's a possible eight points up for grabs in the next week. I'm going to say right now that it's absolutely essential for Toronto to pick up no less than five of those points. That would put them at 89 with three games to play, which should be enough to keep pace (especially if we get a clean win against those dastardly Hurricanes). Then to close off the year we have Philadelphia, Montreal, and the Islanders. The worst team in the league and two of the teams we need to beat. Let's say we got 2-1 (wins over the Flyers and Islanders and a loss to Montreal) in that last week; if we get five points this week, that leaves us at 93 points when the season is done. That will probably be enough to get us in. So, if we can keep pace or even get a little ahead this week, our destiny will be ENTIRELY in our own hands.

We're not dead yet guys.

No comments: