You had better believe it. The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs made it to the playoffs in a full 82-game season was in 2004, thirteen years ago.
After a 2015/16 season in which zero of the seven Canadian-based NHL teams qualified, the Toronto Maple Leafs have now joined four other teams, bringing playoff games back to Canadian soil. Although the Maple Leafs made it to the 2013 postseason, they only had to play 48 games due to the lockout. Anyway, that horrid collapse against the Boston Bruins is behind us, and the future is bright.
Babcock leading the youngsters to the playoffs
To call what Mike Babcock has done with his young core of players remarkable is an understatement. Last season, the Toronto Maple Leafs had the worst record in the NHL, recording just 69 points.
This season, Toronto has 95 points, with one game to go, and a guaranteed spot in the postseason.
This turnaround has been shockingly quick, and to quote Drake, this team “started from the bottom, now they're here.” There is no question that Toronto has the most loyal fans in the entire NHL, and after a long four years of meaningless hockey, this squad is back, and have exceeded everyone’s expectations.
More to come from Toronto
These youngsters have proven that hard work can match experience, and that is why they aren't golfing just yet. Toronto will play the Columbus Blue Jackets next and will take a 40-26-15 record into that showdown.
While many thought that their next matchup would be the deciding game, the Buds were able to once again shock the NHL with a 5-3 win over Phil Kessel and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In the playoffs, the Maple Leafs will play the Ottawa Senators. Every Toronto fan will be excited for their matchup against Ottawa, as they are a banged up team that Toronto can beat, and they're Ontario rivals.
Auston Matthews buried his 40th goal of the season against Pittsburgh and has cemented himself as a top forward in the NHL. If there is anything I know about hockey, it’s that unlike basketball or football, every team that makes the playoffs can win the Stanley Cup.