Leafs struck by Lightning

Phil Kessel follows Lightning defenceman Keith Aulie into the boards during last night's game in...

Phil Kessel follows Lightning defenceman Keith Aulie into the boards during last night's game in Tampa. The Leafs lost 5-2, damaging their hopes of getting home-ice advantage in the first round. (Reuters)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:07 PM ET

The Maple Leafs, it appears, will need a minor miracle to open the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at home.

 

Thanks to a 5-2 loss against a Tampa Bay Lightning club that won’t participate in the Cup tournament, the Leafs have to hope a couple of things happen in the next couple of days if they hope to play host to Game 1 of the first round.

The Leafs have to win in Sunrise, Fla., against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night and the Montreal Canadiens have to lose in Winnipeg versus the Jets. Then, the Leafs would have to beat the Canadiens in regulation on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre in the regular-season finale for both clubs.

If all of that occurs, the Leafs will finish in fourth in the Eastern Conference. For the Leafs to finish second, the Boston Bruins would have to lose all three of their games and the Leafs would have to win both of theirs.

“Home ice is a big advantage in the playoffs,” Joffrey Lupul said after the morning skate. “I


Photos