Morning Papers Take: Are the Leafs far from playoff contention?
So while some may have already written the Leafs off as a potential playoff team, or already exiled them to an embarrassing last-place finish, the basic math of the NHL points system says neither is the case at all. In fact, improving just slightly on the pace of the past week in which five road games netted five points would see the Leafs improve on last season’s 81-point output.
Let’s put it another way. The Leafs currently sit with a record of 1-7-4 which has earned them a total of six points in the standings. Last season, it took 93 points to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. So, while Damien points that the Leafs need to play slightly better than a point-per-game hockey in the standings from here on out, that isn’t true based on last season. The Leafs have 70 games remaining, so even if the team recorded 85 points in the remaining 70 games, the Leafs would still sit with 91 points in the standings–two back of what it took to make the Eastern Conference playoffs last season. Leafs fans shouldn’t fool themselves, this stretch of play has almost certainly cost this team a chance at a playoff spot. To accumulate 87 points from here on out (or 93 points total), the Leafs would have to finish 44-26. Obviously overtime losses will play a factor there, but does anyone in their right mind think the Leafs can play .630 hockey from today until the end of the season? I’d bet the answer is resounding no.