The Toronto Maple Leafs have yet to find out who they will face in the first round of the playoffs, but after their lackluster effort on Saturday night they may hope that it isn’t the Montreal Canadiens. With a chance to keep the Canadiens away from the Northeast Division title and the second seed, the Maple Leafs turned in one of their most lackluster performances of the past month, and must now quickly regroup before the playoffs begin.
Phil Kessel kept his hot streak going with his tenth goal in the past ten games, but that was it for the Maple Leafs’ offense. It may be a good thing Kessel is playing some of his best hockey at the moment, because now the Leafs could very well end up playing his former team the Boston Bruins. Things got so bad for the Maple Leafs on Saturday that they managed just one shot in the second period. They had three power plays in the middle period, yet managed one shot? An effort like this made it hard for goaltender James Reimer, who was pulled after allowing four goals. He let in a pair of soft goals that he would no doubt like to have back, but it has to be hard to have motivation when the team in front of you is mailing it in. The Maple Leafs can still be confident in Reimer heading into the playoffs, as just a week earlier he made 49 saves in a win over the Ottawa Senators.
The Maple Leafs had some success against the Canadiens this season, but on Saturday they were no match for them, even with backup goaltender Peter Budaj starting in place of Carey Price. With not much time to regroup, the Maple Leafs need to put this game in their rearview and focus forward. Getting back to the playoffs is nice, but getting embarrassed there won’t go over well in their hockey-crazed city.