Final games not meaningless to Leaf opponents

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

The Maple Leafs have lots to play for in the next few days, depending on your perspective.

Some things they know they can't change, even if they win all three of their remaining games, destined to miss the playoffs a fifth straight season and register less than 80 points and score under 230 goals (lowest marks in 12 years).

They might also be looking at their lowest leading point man in a full season since 1991-92 if Phil Kessel doesn't come back from a leg injury and get three against the New York Rangers (Wednesday) and the Montreal Canadiens (Saturday).

But meaningless games? Tell that to the Rangers and Canadiens, who have either playoff spots or a higher seed riding on the outcomes against Toronto.

"I think we're glad to be fighting three teams who are fighting for their lives," goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said before taking on the Flyers on Tuesday.

Wednesday in Manhattan, Jonas Gustavsson will get another chance to go head-to-head against his Swedish national team senior, Henrik Lundqvist.

Gustavsson was the 3-2 overtime winner at the Air Canada Centre on March 27, which might already contribute to the Rangers missing the boat.

"I hope all three games (have an impact)," coach Ron Wilson said Tuesday before his team faced the Flyers.

"We don't want to finish last in the conference (two wins would be enough to put heat on Tampa Bay and Florida who were two points ahead of Toronto before Tuesday). We want to build a playoff-type intensity for our young guys and our veterans, to remind those who haven't been there in awhile."


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