Leafs need a miracle

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

The Leafs have 61 points and 19 games remaining. To reach playoff heights, they'll need something miraculous akin to a finish of 14-4-1 and the kind of out-of-town aid usually reserved for flood and earthquake victims.

They begin a four-game road trip tonight in Ottawa, then head to Florida for a pair and catch the Washington Capitals on the way home. Though the Sens had spent 139 days in first place in the Eastern Conference until being unseated yesterday, Toronto has beaten them in the past two meetings.

"We're still in a playoff race," insisted winger Alex Steen.

RAY OF HOPE FOR RAZOR

There is only a slim chance that seldom-used goalie Andrew Raycroft might be traded by tomorrow as a depth move for some team.

He's had a terrible year (2-8-4, 4.07 GAA) and no wins since Nov. 9 (0-7-2). But he's ever hopeful something could work out here. He is currently a $2 million US cap hit with a small raise to a base salary of $2.2 million for 2008-09.

"I want to be here, as long as I can play a few games," said Raycroft, who expects Vesa Toskala to make his 15th straight start tonight. "They've thrown me a couple of bones on the second half of back to backs with afternoon games, but of course I'd like to have more starts (in better circumstances). If I do, then I'd like to keep playing here."

Next season, he could be faced with battling Justin Pogge for the backup role, but making Pogge sit as Toskala's understudy most of next year makes little sense.

LOOSE LEAFS

It might be a good time to call up forward Jeremy Williams from the Marlies again. A year ago tomorrow, he scored against the Canadiens, making him the first player in NHL history to score in each of his only two career games, after clicking for the Leafs in 2006 against Pittsburgh ... The Leafs have a power-play goal in a season-high five consecutive games, heading into Ottawa ... The Leafs are 12-4-3 when Nik Antropov scores, but below .500 (11-11-3) when Jason Blake gets a point.


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