In what could be their last game this season at the Air Canada Centre, the Maple Leafs put on a fitting year-end pageant.
Call it Fan Depreciation Night, a display of their various foibles, a microcosm of 2013-14. Their small spurts of high end hockey were undermined by brutal defensive play. Coach Randy Carlyle has called it “mind-boggling” at times, but his problems getting the Leafs to fix it or be better motivated in a playoff race, puts part of the blame on his lap. Many among the 19,000-plus let the Leafs hear their frustration in the final minutes.
Toronto had the door open to leap-frog the Columbus Blue Jackets for at least temporary possession of a wildcard spot in a game against the eliminated Winnipeg Jets. But Toronto is now a step closer to joining the long list of Canadian teams on the golf course after the Jets out-muscled and out-hustled them in a 4-2 game.