TORONTO (Reuters) — Nazem Kadri scored in
overtime to lift Toronto to a 4-3 win over Eastern Conference leaders
Boston on Thursday, but the Leafs' playoff hopes remain dim despite the
Toronto entered the game a point behind Columbus for the Eastern
Conference's second wild-card spot and the gap remained at the end
of the night after the Blue Jackets shut out the Philadelphia Flyers
The Blue Jackets, however, have two games in hand on Toronto and the
Maple Leafs have only four left to play.
"I know it is a cliché but we have our backs against the wall," said
the Leafs' James van Riemsdyk, who notched his 30th goal of the
campaign in the win.
"We have no choice, we just have to keep on clawing and scratching
and find away to stay alive. Things are tough and we are going to
have to take it one game at a time, one shift at a time."
After ending a seven-season playoff drought last year, the Maple
Leafs, the only NHL franchise valued at a $1 billion by Forbes, look
likely to once again be watching the postseason action on
The win was the second straight for the Leafs but it may be a case
of 'too little too late' coming on the heels of an eight-game losing
streak that sent them spiraling down the standings.
"A lot of pressure," said Kadri, knowing the Leafs needed a win
against the NHL's top team to keep their playoff bid alive.
"We've never stopped believing, we have a couple of wins in a row
and we're far from done."
Boston entered the game with a nine-point lead over Pittsburgh in
the race for the number one seed in the East, and could have sealed
the conference with a win over the Leafs combined with a Penguins
loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
But Pittsburgh beat Winnipeg 4-2, trimming the deficit to eight
after the Bruins picked up a point in the overtime loss.
"We don't want any easy games, we don't need that right now," said
Bruins coach Claude Julien, eager that his team stays sharp through
down the stretch.
Toronto opened the scoring when Paul Ranger was first onto a loose
puck in front of the Boston net and swept it past goaltender Chad
Johnson, but the Bruins hit back 56 seconds later on a goal from
With 12 seconds left in the first, Tyler Bozak knocked in Phil
Kessel's centering pass and then 22 seconds into the second van
Riemsdyk increased the Toronto advantage to 3-1.
Milan Lucic began the Bruins comeback by blasting his 22nd of the
season past Jonathan Bernier five minutes into the third, while
Patrice Bergeron forced overtime by beating James Reimer, who had
taken over in the Toronto net after Bernier had to be helped off the
ice with an apparent groin injury.
With the Leafs on a power play, Kadri kept Toronto's faint playoff
hopes alive when he banged home a rebound midway through the extra