It is down to the final month of the NHL season. The Toronto Maple Leafs is a team that is clinging to hope that they can make the playoffs, and their performance on Thursday night’s 6-3 win should show that they can do so.
It is wins like that one that should give the Maple Leafs the kick they need to finish the season on a strong note.
Toronto is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference entering play on Friday with 42 points. The team is only four points out of fourth place right now, but has played the most games out of all the contenders at this point.
Though it’ll be difficult to achieve, it may be worth Toronto’s while to finish in a position where they can avoid the Pittsburgh Penguins until the conference finals. Pittsburgh has won 14 straight games and recently reloaded their roster.
It could be in the best interest of the Maple Leafs to end up with either the No. 6 or 7 seed, even if it means a tougher opponent in the first round and giving up home-ice advantage.
The Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks are heads above the rest of the league right now, and Toronto is in a group of teams just below those two. The team may have a better chance of getting deeper into the playoffs with a lower seed.
The rally Thursday night should allow the team to keep their momentum and confidence up to clinch a playoff berth sooner than later.