The Bruins lost again against a lesser team, giving the Panthers a free ride to the top of the Atlantic. The Panthers took advantage with a comprehensive win against the Leafs.

Looks like the Bruins lost the game in the course of a very few minutes in the second. Sounds familiar somehow.

Recap: The Leafs lost, and Florida wins the division
The Maple Leafs had the chance to control their destiny, but after a strong start had to attempt to play catch up.…

This is how it works: The Leafs have to play the Bruins because they're both in the Atlantic Division and neither finished first or in a wild card. If they win, they will play the winner of the Florida-Tampa series (likely) because they are all in the Atlantic division. You don't get the Washington Capitals unless you're the Rangers. So no complaining about the draw. It's not a draw, it's the opponent you earn with your skill and luck and the strength of who is in your division.

Yes, I know you all hate the format. The rivalries are unimportant, you'll say. I think we'll see that with the lack of attention paid to the Boston-Toronto series. Unfortunately for HRR, two Florida teams battling is good for their fans, but not really the bottom line, although neither can do that "no out-of-state fans" thing for this round.

In other news, the Capitals took the last wild card spot, so all the remaining games are now moot for who gets in. Winnipeg clinched home ice, and there might be other things going on in the mysterious west, but the east is set.

The first game of round one for the Leafs is expected to be Saturday. Official announcements of game times will come over the next couple of days.

The league is also going to officially announce the Coyotes move, but it's a done deal, and the team is likely to go to Salt Lake to meet the new boss (very different from the old boss) right after their last game.

Oh, and if you've lost track, San Jose has last place locked down.

Oh, and the Leafs still have to play Tampa tonight. A preview will go out later when we know who is in and who is resting – there are more options on defence to rotate players than with forwards.

Expect Cade Webber's already finalized contract to get filed as soon as the regular season is over, ditto the activation of Calle Järnkrok.

In prospect news, the London Knights took a 3-0 series lead in Kitchener by scoring 6 goals, all without Easton Cowan's help and only allowing four. That's OHL hockey!

Kressler's team lost, and are down 3-0 to Oshawa.

Fraser Minten's team was up on Red Deer in the second, looking to take that series to 3-0. You'll have to look up and see how that ended.

If you're looking for hockey between now and the playoffs, there is a Marlies game tonight in Rochester, no word yet on if Matt Murray will get the start.

Murray played a few days ago, his first game since April 2, 2023. No, he isn't actually going to play for the Leafs. He's barely going to get a chance to see how he feels with the Marlies before the season is over. If he'd come back a little sooner Team Canada might have come calling for Worlds in May, but essentially, he's got to try to find a contract for next year with no track record at all.

On Thursday the PWHL is back with Toronto playing in Boston. That sounds familiar... They have to quick turn around and go to Montréal for Saturday afternoon's game in the big arena where the attendance record likely will get broken. After that, they have six days off before their last three games, with the last two at home.

Toronto is in first place right now, one point up on Minnesota. No one has clinched a playoff spot yet, rendering this "Gold drafting" plan a bit of a damp squib.

That's it for today, see you later for the most meaningless game of the year!