The Toronto Maple Leafs lost on Wednesday to the Arizona Coyotes because of a hot goaltender on the other side. That situation is going to happen throughout the season and it is alright to lose a game like that. There are five games on the calendar that need to be must-wins for the team.
Every game matters in the NHL, the difference between first and third in a tough division like the Atlantic is going to be close. As of Thursday morning, four points separate the Maple Leafs from tying for first in the division. They are just four points behind the Lightning and Panthers who are tied for the top spot in the league.
The Maple Leafs are in a tough playoff race. They have two of the league’s best vying for the Stanley Cup in the same division as them, and if I am being honest all three seem to be on equal playing fields for the best around.
That brings me to the five games that matter most to Toronto:
March 27 vs Florida Panthers
April 5 at Florida Panthers
April 4 at Tampa Bay Lightning
April 21 at Tampa Bay Lightning
April 23 at Florida Panthers
The Maple Leafs have five more cracks at the Lightning and Panthers. As of now, they have split games against the Lightning each winning one, although the Lightning did pick up a point as their loss came in overtime. While the Panthers and Leafs have not played each other yet.
These points are going to matter when it comes to who finishes first within this division. Assuming all three teams keep playing at a high level and are consistent all year, they are going to be neck and neck for the top spot all the way up until the end of the year. Luckily Toronto has a lot of opportunities during that final month of the season to separate themselves from the rest with wins during the five games to circle on the calendar!
The Leafs are back in action on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues.