Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer (34) looks on during stoppage in play against the Winnipeg Jets during first period NHL action in Toronto on Saturday, April 5, 2014.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

They were outclassed.

They were embarrassed.

And they're now all but guaranteed to miss the playoffs.

Story continues below advertisement

Playing in yet another do-or-die game against an opponent out of the running for anything but a decent draft pick, the Toronto Maple Leafs were hammered 4-2 by the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, receiving another death blow to their slim postseason hopes.

It was so ugly, few fans – including Mayor Rob Ford – stuck around until the end to boo the Leafs on their way off the rink.

Given how they played, this was a feeble way for Toronto to end its home schedule and any realistic shot of continuing playing beyond next weekend. The Jets were without one of their top forwards in Evander Kane (a healthy scratch) and came in six points back of Toronto after having their playoff hopes crushed earlier in the week.

Even so, Winnipeg piled up 41 shots on beleaguered netminder James Reimer and capitalized several times on miscues from Toronto's top players in the defensive zone.

By the end, the Leafs had been outshot 39-15 at even strength and had possession of the puck just 28 per cent of the time.

Because this was their last home game of the year, it very well could be the last appearance behind the Air Canada Centre bench for coach Randy Carlyle and his staff, who should shoulder a large portion of the blame for just how unprepared and out of sorts Toronto has looked all season, especially in their own zone.

"I wish I had the answer," Carlyle said, giving a very uncomforting answer when asked about his team's lack of desperation in such a desperate situation. "We couldn't make two passes."

Story continues below advertisement

Others, like Reimer, will surely be traded in what must be a soul searching off-season for GM Dave Nonis and new MLSE president Tim Leiweke.

What they've put together this season – on the roster, in their systems and in the excuses from the front office – clearly isn't good enough, regardless of how long they strung out the ultimately futile playoff chase.

On pace for 87 points in a league where 92 is the average, the Leafs look closer to a bottom feeder on way too many nights, one saved by good goaltending and Phil Kessel's scoring prowess from being truly awful.

They rode high shooting and save percentages for the first 60 games, but both have come crashing down since the Olympic break, a 6-11-2 stretch that included a season-killing eight-game regulation losing streak.

"I couldn't tell you why it got away from us but you could see we got outworked," Leafs centre Dave Bolland said quietly after Saturday's loss. "You see what happens tonight."

"They outplayed us," Kessel added. "They were fast… I don't know [why the effort wasn't better]. You can answer that."

Story continues below advertisement

Saturday's game started out respectably enough for Toronto. The Leafs picked up an early lead when Kessel belted in his 37th of the season off a nice feed from linemate Tyler Bozak on an odd-man rush 2:45 into the game.

Toronto then benefited from a brutal Ondrej Pavelec brain cramp on Nazem Kadri's 20th of the season that made it 2-1.

But the Leafs top line was also on the ice for two Jets goals against in the first frame, as they tried to fly the zone too early, leading to tallies from Bryan Little and Jacob Trouba – with three seconds left in the period – to tie things at 2-2 after 20 minutes.

That led into a disastrous middle frame, as the Leafs were hemmed in their own zone throughout, generating just one even strength shot on goal and getting outshot 14-7 overall.

With all that zone time, the Jets eventually drew a key penalty and defenceman Toby Enstrom wired the 3-2 goal through a screen from the point.

It was 20 minutes that were highly symbolic of how Toronto's season has gone, with their play without the puck so poor it has negated good goaltending and timely scoring to the point they didn't really have a chance.

Story continues below advertisement

With the game still up for grabs, Jets centre Olli Jokinen added an insurance goal midway through the third period, and the Leafs never really put up much of a fight after that.

"We seem to find ways to always wonder what the heck is going on," Carlyle said of his staff's frustration. "Why? What's going on there? Why are we reacting in that manner?

"That's the frustrating part for us. When we are able to execute and our work ethic that is strong we're a hockey club that can give teams difficulty. But our consistency level goes from game to game and sometimes period to period."

There had been some faint hope for the Leafs after they ended an eight-game losing streak earlier in the week with back-to-back wins over Calgary and Boston, but the reality was the margin of error was always exceptionally slim.

Toronto came into Saturday's game with just a 12 per cent chance of making the postseason, but after the loss to the Jets and Washington and New Jersey both won on the out of town scoreboard, they're looking at roughly 2.6 per cent with three road games to play.

Even if they run the table, the Leafs can only get to 90 points, and Columbus needs to only go 2-2-1 to close the year ahead of them.

Story continues below advertisement

It is, in other words, essentially over.

And, after so many efforts like this through 79 games, deservedly so.

"You never know," Kessel said. "We still have three games left. We're going to play hard. Whatever happens, happens here."

Follow me on Twitter:

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies