Leafs Fail to Win A Must Win: Jets 4, Leafs 2

The defense was bad, the offense wasn't great, and the playoff hopes are pretty much shot.

The league's worst starting netminder, Ondrej #Pavelectric, was in net. Evander Kane was a healthy scratch. Dustin Byfuglien would get injured halfway through the game. The Leafs needed two points to stay alive in the playoff race. Anyone who's been a Leafs fan for the last three seasons - or since Carlyle took over - knew the poor team never stood a chance.

Tyler Bozak made a nice pass to Phil Kessel, and they converted a 2-on-1+, with sticks in the lane. Nazem Kadri would later scoop in a puck on the forecheck when Pavelec came out to play it, and instead turned it over after remembering he's Ondrej Pavelec. Other than that gift from the opposing netminder, the offense's failure to convert was a huge problem - only scoring one goal against the Jets, with the kind of defense that the Leafs have?

Speaking of which, let me find something to copy and paste from just about any other Leafs game: The in-zone defense was abysmal. They failed to clear the zone against the Winnipeg Jets, even when the Jets were missing two of their best players.

Since Dave Bolland has come back from injury, he's been on ice for seven goals against and just one goal for. He was directly responsible for the backhand shuffle-pass turnover that led to the fourth goal against, just as he was purely decorative against the Bruins. I don't give a shit if he was born in Mimico or Madagascar, giving Dave Bolland a long term, high-cap deal would be insanity. Overpaying for "intangibles," overpaying for rumors of defensive prowess, overpaying for his jacked up shooting percentage - I can't believe that in a year where we're all damning the David Clarkson contract, pundits are inviting a repeat deal with a different Ontario-born player. He's incredibly replaceable, even if it means taking a step down for the sake of not tanking the budget.

In order to get a chance at the playoffs, the Leafs will need to sweep their last three away games against the Panthers, the Lightning, and the Senators. Then, they need the Blue Jackets to get less than five points in five games (they have a one goal lead in the Dallas postponement), and the Devils to get less than six points in four games. Bargaining is less fun than acceptance. Go Leafs go.

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