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Leafs fall to Blue Jackets 5-1

And there was much rejoicing.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Maple Leafs faced the Columbus Blue Jackets in a night that couldn't have been scripted better. While those two dwellers of the basement of the standings played, the other contenders for one of the bottom spots played the last game ever in what I can't call anything but the Northlands Coliseum.

The Oilers dominated the Canucks, who played their backup goalie Jacob Markstrom, and won 6-2 in front of some of the greatest stars of the Oilers' past, including Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.

It's hard to celebrate either the glory of Messier and Gretzky, or the future of McDavid, when all you want is to lose for a better draft pick. Leafs fans didn't get to enjoy that last night, most of them, but the story came out exactly how it needed to to make that better pick more likely.

The Leafs, playing Garret Sparks in net, lost a stinker to the Blue Jackets 5-1. The Jackets played fairly well, and have some impressive offensive threats buried in their struggling team. They were out in force.

The Leafs played like....I'll let Mike Babcock tell it like it is:

The result in draft pick chances is as follows courtesy of PPP commenter emjaymj, who is right, I was too lazy too look myself:

Though we still have a game in hand over Edmonton (the ONLY team that has any chance of finishing behind us), our loss and their 6-2 victory over Vancouver last night makes us the lottery favorite right now, and our chances of finishing in last place are excellent.

Why? Well here are the facts if you are too lazy to look yourself:

Games Remaining:

  • Leafs: 2
  • Oilers: 1 [Toronto has 1 game in hand.]

Points:

  • Leafs: 67
  • Oilers: 69 [Edmonton leads Toronto by 2 points.]

Regulation & Overtime Wins (ROW):

  • Leafs: 22
  • Oilers: 27 [Edmonton is ahead of Toronto by an insurmountable 5 ROW.]

WHAT ALL THIS MEANS

Since the Leafs only have 2 games left to play yet the lOilers are ahead of us by 5 ROW, Edmonton is guaranteed to win any tiebreaker even if we manage to make up the 2 points we are behind them by.

_____________________________

This means:

We finish in last place if…

…Toronto loses either game in regulation

OR

…Edmonton wins their final game (which conveniently happens to be against Vancouver again, who they just slaughtered earlier tonight 6-2!)

OR

…Toronto loses both games in overtime and/or shootout

OR

…Toronto wins one game, and both Toronto AND Edmonton each lose a game in overtime/shootout.

_____________________________

As you can probably see, the likelihood of Toronto becoming tank champions this season is pretty high at the moment. But now it occurs to me that perhaps it’s just easier to say that:

The only way Edmonton out-tanks us and finishes behind us in last place is if…

…Edmonton loses their final game in any fashion while we win both of ours (which happen to be against Philadelphia and New Jersey, thankfully both of which are better teams than the Vancouver squad Edmonton has to face!)

OR

… Edmonton loses their final game in regulation, while we win one game and lose our other game in overtime/shootout.

_____________________________

Either way, it’s clear that that likelihood of us finishing in last place is significantly greater than that of the Oilers managing to sneak behind us… provided I didn’t just jinx it.

And the fact that we play the likely-playoff-bound Flyers on the tail-end of a back-to-back means we could easily clinch last place TONIGHT! And help Annie’s team towards clinching a playoff spot, while is alright I guess…

Not only would this mean, in the worst-case scenario, the difference between picking 4th vs 5th overall – meaning we’d get OUR FIRST CHOICE of Chychrun, Dubois, Baby Nylander, Tkachuk, or basically anyone not named Matthews, Laine, or Puljujarvi – but it would give us about a 50% greater chance at winning any of the lotteries that would land us one of those latter three. The thought alone of winning Auston Matthews or even a shiny new Laine makes my eggplant kind of tingle. And all we have to do is bite the the bullet and lose a single game tonight. Then we could even afford to end the season on a high note by murdering New Jersey on Saturday.

So uh… TONIGHT! For one night only:

LET’S GO FLYERS!