As in the end of the season and lengthy playoff drought for the Maple Leafs.
The Leafs are two-thirds through the NHL season, sitting in sixth place in the East with 37 points in 32 games.
They’ll need about 16 points over the next 16 games to clinch their first playoff spot since 2004.
While a 3-2 win Saturday over the Boston Bruins has the Leafs feeling pretty good, they’re not getting ahead of themselves.
“We haven’t really looked at it that way,” said Leafs defenceman Cody Franson. “We try to stay in the moment, game by game, and give ourselves the best positioning possible.
“To look too far forward would be a mistake. We have to stay in the moment and try to get as many wins as possible. We try to make it so we control our own fate and not rely on other teams to help us. In order to do that, you’ve got to be able to play solid each game from here on out.”
The Leafs hope to make it two in a row Monday night in Boston in the second leg of the home-and-home series. They are 2-0-2 in their last four games.
“I don’t think we put as much pressure on ourselves as maybe you guys think when we go on those downswings,” said defenceman Mike Kostka, likely to play Monday after being a healthy scratch for five games.
Kostka is expected to replace John-Michael Liles, who is out with a sprained ankle.
“It’s important we go in and carry on that momentum,” said defenceman Mark Fraser. “We were pretty high — we won. But it was short-lived. We had a good game, but you can’t get too high. We have to face them again. We’re feeling good about where we are right now.”
This two-game series has the feel of a playoff battle. The Bruins, of course, are the favourite, but the Leafs did a number of things well and will have to keep doing so if they’re going to have any success.