Good morning Toronto Maple Leafs fans!

Game 48 ended up being a big Leafs win over the poor, defenseless Winnipeg Jets* and we are now eight games away from the 2021 NHL Playoffs. With the new format for this weird season, we have four teams to choose from for our first two opponents to make things easy:

From the NHL:

For the 2020-21 season, the NHL was realigned into four divisions: MassMutual East, Discover Central, Honda West and Scotia North, with a 56-game regular season featuring only intradivisional play. The top four teams in each division will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which will follow the traditional best-of-seven, four-round format. The first two rounds will feature intradivisional play (#1 vs. #4; #2 vs. #3). The four teams that advance to the Semifinal Round would be seeded by their regular season points total, with the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seed in one series and the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds meeting in the other.

Looking at the standings, I have these four opponents as my ideal path to the playoffs.

Round 1: Calgary Flames

It’s always great to see Western Canada get all mad that the Leafs get the attention, ignoring the fact that 40% of the country’s population (and audience) lives in Ontario and more than 50% of all NHL fans in Canada are Maple Leafs fans. Forcing the Flames to start games at 5PM local time so the Leafs play at 7PM would be the appetizer. Leafs focused highlights, Leafs focused TV and radio coverage, and a Leafs series win would surely make Calgary “C” Red.

Also, LOL the juggernaut Habs missed the playoffs after all the pundits said they’d be killers in their pre-season talk.

Round 2: Winnipeg Jets*

This is probably bias about the last couple games, but I would much rather beat the Jets* than the Oilers in round two. I hate that team. I hate them so much. I hate the recycled team name, I hate people who pretend they’re the same team as the WHA Jets, I hate the fact that everyone in the hockey world got on their knees and blew the entire city of Winnipeg a nice pretty song on their trumpets and saxophones in a song of celebration that first season back.

Also, like the Habs missing the playoffs, the reaction to the Oilers losing in round one would be much better than losing in round two.

Round 3: Tampa Bay Lightning

You gotta beat the champs to be the champs, and beating the Lightning in the third round would shut up everyone who was going on and on and on about how the Leafs had it soooo easy playing in the North Division and we wouldn’t know how good the Leafs are really until they played someone truly challenging - and half of them were Leafs fans.

Round 4: New York Islanders

I became a Leafs fan late in life, in the year 200 specifically, and man do I remember the 2002 playoff series against the Islanders. While the two teams won’t have as many bad vibes with each other, the fans are going to make this look like a tickle fight:

For the Leafs overall, beating the Bruins for the Stanley Cup would be a wonderful thing, but I want to be extremely petty here and have John Tavares score a hat trick in whatever arena they’re sharing with the local jai alai squadron. Rubber snakes raining down as the Leafs pass the Stanley Cup around, half the rink screaming their heads off because it’s all Leafs fans.

Yes. All of my picks are based off of pettiness. I don’t want it to be easy, I want it to be fun and agonizing.

Who are your choices for playoff opponents?

In some news I found....

The Leafs won! here’s a recap!

Jets go low, Leafs go higher in the standings

Go Joe!

Joe Thornton becomes oldest goal-scorer in Maple Leafs history

Such a shame.

Canadiens’ Price returning to Montreal for further concussion treatment

Speaking of the Habs, the lost to the Flames. The Leafs win and the Habs lose. What a great night!

Top Six Minutes: Flames burn the Canadiens once again

A classic goalie appears!

Finally, the Maple Leafs veterans are some of the best people, fundraising for the underpaid Marlies.

Speaking of charity, there’s a fundraiser ending soon that needs your help.

Finish The Fight 400 w. The OHL Fanboys Podcast, organized by Steve McLean

On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, Steve McLean of The OHL Fanboys will be taking part in the 7th Annual Finish The Fight 400 organized by the Championship Online Racing Teams series (CORT). The race was created in 2015 to initially raise money and awareness for cancer research. Since then the sim racers who take part in this event chose charities of any cause to represent and help raise funds. This year Steve will be representing and raising funds for McFadden’s Movement.

McFadden’s Movement was created by former Guelph Storm captain Garrett McFadden in September 2016 and is a non profit organization in support of mental health that strives to change, help, and develop mental health among athletes starting at the grass roots level. In addition to raising awareness, McFadden started fundraising for mental health resources, including WES for Youth Online, and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo-Wellington branch in order to give back to the city and community of Guelph. To date, the Movement has raised over $57,000 and counting for mental health resources.

As a bonus for donating you can also win some great prizes like game worn jerseys during the livestream on Tuesday night,

If you got five bucks, please donate when you can.

Let’s end on a high note! Go Leafs Go!