NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, April 10th
(All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (38-34-8) at Florida Panthers (28-44-8), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - With a second straight trip to the postseason officially
out of their reach, the Toronto Maple Leafs will play for pride when they
visit the Florida Panthers in Thursday's matchup at BB&T Center.
Toronto was mathematically eliminated from playoff consideration following
Tuesday's loss against Tampa Bay. It was the club's 10th loss in 12 games and
the setback knocked the Maple Leafs out of the playoffs for the eight time in
The Maple Leafs were second in the Atlantic Division as of Mar. 13 but
spiraled into a 2-10 slump, with none of the losses coming in overtime.
Entering Tuesday's game, they stood three points back of Columbus for the
second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Their loss, coupled with the
Blue Jackets' overtime win over Phoenix on Tuesday, ended Toronto's 2014
"Not in shock," said Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle said. "I guess the words
to describe it would be extremely disappointed, shallow, embarrassed. All
those things. I think we have more than what we were able to accomplish, and
that's the most troubling issue here. We just didn't find a way to compete to
a level that was necessary."
Toronto was shut out 3-0 by the Lightning on Tuesday, marking the first time
the Leafs were blanked since a 6-0 rout against a visiting Columbus club on
James Reimer stopped 31-of-33 shots for Toronto, but fell to 1-7-0 over his
last eight starts.
Tuesday's tilt was the first of three straight on the road for Toronto. The
Leafs, who are 14-18-7 as the guest in 2013-14, will complete their season
Saturday in Ottawa.
The Panthers have long since been eliminated from the playoffs and the club
enters its penultimate game of the season having lost six of seven games.
Florida halted a five-game slide with Sunday's win over visiting Dallas, but
was handed a 5-2 setback Tuesday night by the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
The road victory clinched a playoff spot for the Flyers.
Claude Giroux scored twice to help Philadelphia pick up the big win, while
Florida netminder Dan Ellis gave up all five goals on 27 shots, and was beat
four times during a rough second period.
"In the second period I just let in four [bad] goals," said Ellis. "It's
unacceptable, it's frustrating as heck. You're one of the primary reasons for
the loss. I take responsibility for that loss. I can't let two pucks go right
Jonathan Huberdeau and Erik Gudbranson lit the lamp for the Panthers, who lost
for the ninth time in 11 games.
Florida is playing the fourth part of a season-ending five-game homestand on
Thursday. The Panthers, who will host Columbus in their season finale on
Saturday, are just 15-19-5 as the host.
04/10 11:06:56 ET