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Maple Leafs Watch: Tough stretches lie ahead

With the Maple Leafs finally getting into the win column after their 6-3 spanking of Anaheim Monday, it appears Toronto’s Hockey Horror Picture Show won’t be airing all the way up to Halloween after all.

However, that’s not to say there won’t be at least a few more frightening nights ahead for the Leafs. So let’s prepare you by identifying some potentially spooky stretches of Toronto’s remaining schedule.

Friday, November 13th through Tuesday, Nov. 17th.
Wouldn’t you know it – a famously unlucky day is the beginning of a tough three-games-in-five-nights stretch for the Leafs.

They start with the burgeoning Hawks in Chicago on the 13th, fly to Toronto to take on the impressive Calgary Flames the next night, then zip up Hwy. 401 to battle a division rival and very competitive Senators squad. Oh, and their next two games are against the Hurricanes in Carolina and the Capitals in Toronto.

(If you read the previous three sentences using the voice of Vincent Price, you might not be able to sleep tonight. Just so you know.)

Wednesday, January 8th through Thursday, January 21st.
The aforementioned three-games-in-five-nights may sound like paradise to the Leafs once they’re done playing eight times in 14 nights at the start of 2010.

Five of those eight games are road games for the Leafs. They’ll play Ryan Miller in Buffalo (on the 8th), Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (in Toronto on the 9th), Philadelphia’s Chris Pronger (in Toronto on the 14th), Alex Ovechkin in Washington (on the 15th), Ilya Kovalchuk in Atlanta (on the 19th) and Vinny Lecavalier in Tampa Bay (on the 21st).

By that point, Lightning owner Oren Koules may offer to buy what remains of the Leafs and use it as background gore for the next installment of his Saw horror movie franchise.

Tuesday, March 2nd through Tuesday, March 16th.
Fifteen days. Nine games. Hurricanes, Bruins, Senators, Flyers, Bruins (again), Lightning, Oilers, Islanders, and Senators (again).

Somebody cue Joe Flaherty’s famous Count Floyd character from SCTV. If the Leafs still have playoff hopes by then, this stretch may be their final resting place.

This article also appears in the Toronto Metro newspaper.

Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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