Both the Buffalo Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes won last night, reclaiming ground lost to the Leafs the day before. On top of that, the Leafs are in Detroit to face one of the favorites for the Stanley Cup. Probably the toughest aspect of the current playoff push is that even if the Leafs continue to win (which would be quite the feat, considering their remaining schedule), they still need those in front of them to stumble. And there's been no indication that will happen. As James Mirtle points out, even teams assured of a playoff spot like Detroit have something to fight for this time of year:
While the Red Wings may be comfortably near the top of the Western Conference with 95 points, they're far from comfortable with their recent play.
With several key players out with injury – including Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen – Detroit is reeling a little after losing its past three games. From the top down, there's a sense in the organization of not wanting to go into the postseason anything less than perfect, and even a 4-4-3 record in March is cause for concern.
There are a lot of forces outside Toronto's control determining their playoff hopes. The best thing the Leafs can do tonight is be ready to play from the opening drop. Leave as little to chance as possible and whatever else happens, happens. Links after the jump...
VLM wonders if there is still room for growth under the current staff
MLHS examines the similarities between Kulemin and the Wings' Pavel Datsyuk
Five for Fighting breaks down the candidates