The “good old” days may be coming back for fans who have been eagerly waiting for a playoff berth.
Since the 04-05 full season lockout, the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t made the NHL playoffs, but this could be the year it all changes. With a record of 15-10-1, Toronto sits at sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings, and there are no signs of them slowing down.
Nazem Kadri has been a show-stopper for Toronto, scoring 25 points to date. He has potted 11 goals, and could potentially reach the 20 mark if things keep going his way. Phil Kessel is two points behind Kadri, and ever since he has snapped his goalless drought, he’s been shooting and hitting nothing but net.
Dion Phaneuf sees the ice for almost half the game, and Mike Kostka is also racking up the ice time, so their defensive presence has be felt. James Reimer has been solid in between the pipes with a 2.66 goals against average. His .919 save percentage puts him at the 22nd spot in the league. An improvement in save percentage will notch Toronto a couple more wins, and help them gain much-needed points.
If Toronto keeps playing the way they are, they could be on their way for some playoff hockey. Their penalty kill has them in the top 10 of the league, with their Power Play leaving them in the top 15 of the league.
Little things like battles along the boards, smart puck movement, and getting the puck out of the offensive zone are all things that let teams win hockey games. Right now, Toronto has been winning hockey games because of all of these things, but with only a 48-game schedule, there is less room for errors as well, even though there’s also less time for other teams to catch them.
If they continue to play the way they have been, Toronto could be hosting some playoff games — and the fans who bleed blue and white couldn’t be happier.