Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Toronto Skids On Oil Slick At Rexall Place

A key two-point swing in the standings watch happened tonight in Edmonton, as the Oilers, sitting just above Carolina in the NHL cellar with 34 points, beat Toronto 3-1 thanks to a pair of goals from Patrick O'Sullivan (aren't youse guys glad the Bruins didn't pick him 45th in 2003 instead of Patrice Bergeron, which, if you hop into the wayback machine, was the hot topic on a lot of fans' minds back then).

Toronto stumbled badly in this one, although Phil Kessel did break his seven-game pointless streak with a late goal. What really hurts is that they lost to one of the two teams beneath them in the standings. Ouch. The Leafs are now 14-18-9 on the year at the exact halfway mark for them (41 games), on pace for 74 points and handing a lottery ticket to Boston as it stands right now.

Edmonton is still behind Toronto by a point, but once again- this is a game the Leafs really needed to have; two points they aren't going to get back and that could haunt them when their schedule gets rougher next month.

If you start doing the math, with every loss they accrue, especially to inferior clubs like the Oilers, that means the Leafs have to be that much better here over the second half of the season than they were in the first. With this team, even in your heart of hearts if you're the most ardent Leafs supporter, do you honestly believe they can do that?

They're up next against Calgary on Saturday as their western swing continues.

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