It’s taken what seemed like an eternity, but Toronto Maple Leafs fans finally have something to cheer about again after their team snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames last night.
David Clarkson scored a beautiful breakaway goal to get the Leafs a critical two points. Dave Bolland and Jay Clement scored the other goals while Jonathan Bernier stopped 22 shots to help get the win.
The Leafs still have a lot of work to do, but at least they have a small chance to get into the playoffs now. As poorly as they’ve played of late, this team looked determined and played some decent, desperate hockey last night.
There were many positives for Leafs to take away from this win. Bolland and Clarkson both scored goals and these are two players that now have very high price tags.
They’ve both struggled with injuries for most of the season as well so it’s nice to see them finally contributing and I hope they can continue scoring. Leaf’s top scorer Phil Kessel blocked some shots and provided some much needed energy despite playing injured.
Also, Bernier was able to claim his first win since early March, which will be a big boost for his confidence. Overall, this was a must win for Toronto and this team finally delivered.
However, the team still has a lot of problems in the defensive end that need to be addressed. There were several times during last night’s game where the defense got beat far too easily. But at the end of the day, a win’s a win for this team.
Toronto are still behind the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference standings. However, the Wings have a very tough task ahead of them when they face the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.
But even if Detroit loses, the pressure is still on Toronto to continue to win games. It’s going to be a very difficult challenge for them, but at least they’ve made a start with last night’s win.
If Toronto can somehow beat the Bruins on Thursday, I believe that may give them the boost they need to stay in the race for the last playoff spot. However, Toronto will still have to depend on other teams losing as well.
It’s great that there is still the possibility of having two Canadian teams in the playoffs but I believe that the Leafs are too late. There are just too many variables in play for them to claim that last playoff spot. One thing is certain, if the Leafs do get in, it’ll set up another intense, dramatic playoff series against the dreaded Bruins.
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