In the wake of the Leafs’ 5-1 overtime loss to the Blackhawks on Wednesday night, many have wondered what will happen with the Leafs in the second round of the playoffs.
Toronto has yet to clinch a playoff spot, and with the team now in last place in the East, it is not a foregone conclusion that it will be eliminated before the playoffs start.
There are some similarities in the two franchises, however, as they both are in their second seasons in the NHL and have both had to play hard to reach the postseason.
The Leafs have a good team in their division, and a young, talented roster that can compete at a high level.
The Flames have a team in a different division, but they are a good one and should be able to make it in the playoffs this season.
Both teams have a lot of talent, but the Flames have the better goaltender.
The Hawks’ Jake Allen has a .907 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average in the regular season.
Toronto’s Jonas Gustavsson is in the top 10 in the league in goals against average, save percentage, shutouts and save percentage.
The Leafs, on the other hand, have a top goalie in Corey Crawford.
Crawford has a 3.18 GAA and a .905 save percentage in five games.
In five starts, he has a 1-0-0 record with a 1.98 goals-for percentage.
In the standings, Toronto’s playoff hopes have been greatly impacted by the absence of Cody Franson.
The 26-year-old has missed four games this season with an upper-body injury and has been sidelined since Oct. 15.
The team is expected to announce Crawford’s return this weekend, but it is unclear if the Leafs will play him this season or whether he will return in 2016-17.
Crawford is an excellent goaltender, and the Leafs are hoping he will be back sooner rather than later.
They need him to have a great season and he has proven he can do both.
The second-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011, Crawford has been one of the better goaltenders in the League this season, posting a 1:06.50 save percentage for the Blackhawks in 11 starts this season and a 1 0.98 GAA.
The Blackhawks are in the playoff hunt and would love to get Crawford back before the end of the season.
Crowder will be eligible for the salary-cap recapture rules, but he will need to play in a playoff series in order to have his salary recaptured.
That is why it makes sense for the Leafs to start the process now.