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Maple Leafs v. The Final Stretch

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Toronto Maple Leafs
@ New Jersey Devils

Opposition Coverage: In Lou We Trust

Tuesday, Apr 7, 2009, 7:00 PM EDT
Prudential Center

Complete Coverage >

Good news first:

Devils left wing Patrik Elias and defenseman Niclas Havelid both skated lightly this morning, but head coach Brent Sutter said neither will play against the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday night at Prudential Center.

- Fire and Ice

Well, I guess that could go one of two ways: the Devils' offence will lose a valuable weapon and they'll stink or the Devils will pick up the slack and beat the Leafs anyway. With Brent Sutter behind the bench I know which one I'll be banking on. Devils' fans want to make sure that their team doesn't take the Leafs' lightly especially in light of their previous matchups:

Even with a different goaltender, there's no reason the same couldn't happen again, really. And even though Toronto's playing for pride and they only won 2 of their last 6 - those two wins came against Washington and Philadelphia, two very good teams that happen to be above and below New Jersey, respectively. Factor into this that New Jersey has not beaten this team in regulation this season: they have lost to Toronto twice in a shootout (10/29/08 and 12/16/08) in addition the aforementioned overtime win. At that point, does it matter that Toronto is the league's worst at stopping goals (an average of 3.54 per game!).

- John Fischer, In Lou We Trust

What happened in those games? I'm glad you asked:

Final - 3.3.2009 1 2 3 OT Total
New Jersey Devils 1 0 1 1 3
Toronto Maple Leafs 0 0 2 0 2

Complete Coverage >

Final - 12.16.2008 1 2 3 OT SO Total
New Jersey Devils 1 1 0 0 0 2
Toronto Maple Leafs 0 2 0 0 1 3

Complete Coverage >

Final - 10.29.2008 1 2 3 OT SO Total
Toronto Maple Leafs 0 3 2 0 1 6
New Jersey Devils 2 2 1 0 0 5

Complete Coverage >

Meanwhile, the purveyors of the tanking philosophy have their goal in sight as three losses will likely land the Leafs in 4th in the lottery and a shot at first overall in the draft. Now they're advocating some pretty terrible behaviour:

With only three meaningless regular season games remaining for the Leafs it’s time for the team to do what they probably should’ve been doing all year long. Namely, losing on purpose. Re-inserting the corpse of Lee Stempniak into the line-up would be a good start.

- Canadian Sports Junkie

Well, look at that. Lee Stempniak has been re-inserted into the line-up so that Brad "Habs Destroyer" May can hit his 1000th game in Toronto against the Sabres.

Personally, and I think everyone here is of the same mind, while losses wouldn't be frowned upon I'd rather the team put in a better effort than they have over the last couple of games. At least go down kicking. Well, not exactly kicking. That's more of a senators thing to do.