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They’re calling tonight a ‘must-win’ for the Leafs

Randy Carlyle

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle speaks with reporters during NHL hockey training camp in Toronto, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)


According to the Toronto Star, the Maple Leafs are hosting the Sabres tonight in a “must-win game” for the home team.

Here’s how the argument is framed, in the wake of Saturday’s home loss to the Bruins:

Fans booed the team off the ice after the game. The Leafs play Buffalo at home Tuesday night in what is essentially a must-win game. Buffalo enters the game in last place in the Atlantic Divison, but only three points behind the Leafs.

Certainly, a loss to the Sabres would be embarrassing. But after nine games, it would hardly doom Toronto’s playoff hopes. And, as poorly as the Leafs played Saturday, they did beat the Islanders, 5-2, in their previous outing.

Perhaps, one could argue, tonight is a “must-win” for Leafs bench boss Randy Carlyle, given he entered the season as the consensus coach on the hottest seat. But according to at least one report, this one in the Toronto Sun, there’s “no appetite currently to fire coach Randy Carlyle. Upper management, to date, has been more impressed with the Leafs coach than they have been with his players.”

Related: Lupul: ACC is ‘one of the quietest buildings in the league’