February 21'st - New Jersey Devils
|Photo Courtesy the Toronto Sun|
February 23'rd - San Jose Sharks
|Former Sharks Coach Ron Wilson|
February 25'th - Washington Capitals
Depending on what happens in the previous two games the team you see in Toronto could look a lot different. This is the last game before the trade deadline and there will most likely be one or two new faces in the lineup for Toronto. This is the same for Washington as they may look to shake things up after being one of the big disappointments of the NHL season so far. They currently sit tenth and are risking missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. However they are only two points back of the Southeast leading Panthers and depending on how they play could move from tenth all the way up to third. A win against Toronto would provide Washington with the chance to catch Florida but also make sure they are closer to the eighth spot if something goes wrong. The teams have split the first two games, one of which was a 7-1 thrashing delivered by the Maple Leafs. They will play once more after this game and those will be four big points up for grabs. Toronto has proven they can shit the Great 8 down and when they do that they have the speed to match Washington, something most teams can not say. A win here would help Toronto separate from teams below them and help secure a spot in the playoffs.
February 28th - Florida Panthers
This game will have a lot of the same implications that the Washington game will have. Florida is currently third in the East and looking to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1999-200 season. A streak of ten seasons that is the longest in the NHL. A streak that if broken could come at the expense of Toronto who ironically have the second longest drought at six seasons. This will be a fight between two teams who need to make the playoffs. Florida needs wins to make sure they don't risk losing the division lead and right out of the playoffs. They have both Winnipeg and Washington right on their heels and this game could help get them some separation. This is the third of four meetings this season and Florida has won both so far. Toronto has no played well against Florida this year and needs to turn it around. They have given up five goals in both games and will need their goalies to step up and help them win this game. This will be the first game after the deadline so depending on the previous three games this could be a Toronto team that will look vastly different. Perhaps we will be seeing Rick Nash suit up for his first game as a Leaf. Either way this is the last game of the home stand and take Toronto into Chicago where they will finish out February and head into the final month.
|Photo Courtesy Mississauga News|
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