It has finally happened folks. After a nine year wait, Leaf fans, like myself, can rejoice as the Toronto Maple Leafs have clinched a playoff spot after beating Ottawa this past weekend 4-1. “When we started in January, our sights were set on trying to qualify for the playoffs,” said Leaf’s head coach, Randy Carlyle in the post game press conference. Carlyle also commented on how well his players worked hard during this shorten season to get to this point.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again , the best move Toronto did in the off season was getting rid of defense man, Luke Schenn. Man! I don’t give a rats behind on how good he has played in Philadelphia this year. Without him on the blue line, the Leafs defensive core was much better. As far as I’m concern, he can stay in Philly.
There is no question in my mind, Nazem Kadri was one or the best players on the squad. As of today, he has 18 goals and 42 points. He is second in team points, just below Phil Kessel.
Speaking of Kessel, even though he was slow out the gate , he really picked up the pace when the Leafs needed him, not in goals(16), but in assists (32) and points (48).
James Van Reimsdyk also contribute to the offense in the playoff race by scoring 18 goals, racking up 14 assists, and 32 points.
What can you say about goalie James Reimer. He was like a third defense man out there. On many nights, he kept his team in the game when they were down one or two goals. He gave his team a chance to catch up or sometimes even to win the game. As of now, Reimer has a record of 18-6, a 2.41 goals against average, and a save percentage of .926. That’s pretty good.
Another thing that helped the Leafs was their penalty killing unit. They are third in the league on the penalty kill with 86.99. Not bad, Not bad at all.
The question is now is how far will the Leafs go in the playoffs. It depends on who they’ll face in the first round. I do know this much. Boston and Pittsburgh will be tough customers. As for Montreal, the Leafs may have a good shot in advancing to the second round. You know, a Montreal/Toronto first-round series could be a real exiting one.