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what they've done eight consecutive times. As the Leafs seemed to realize Saturday night, they can no longer afford to lose.
"We've been devastated this year, no question about it, but we found all these kids and we're better for it going ahead, so that's a positive thing," coach Mike Babcock said. "We've had a lot of fun doing it. We've been in the grinder since day one, there's no question about it, but we've had a lot of fun doing it and we've got a big game against Tampa tomorrow."
Detroit (34 26 14) got a hat trick from Darren Helm and another from the NHL's hottest goal scorer, Gustav Nyquist, to reach 82 points.
every one, probably."
"I can't describe it right now," winger Joffrey Lupul said. "This was as close to a do or die as you can get. But obviously we're not going to throw out hope until it's mathematically set in stone. But we pretty much had to have this game."
They finish the season with three on the road: at the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators. But unless they manage to string together a home winning streak, those games will be too late.
The Red Wings weren't the only ones in the race to win Saturday night, as the Blue Jackets beat the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime to take over the top wild card spot in the East at 82 points. Columbus leads Detroit because they have more regulation and overtime wins (33 to 29).
"We've got to win the rest of our games and get help now, I think," said Lupul, who scored the Leafs' second goal of the night late in the second period to give some life that evaporated in the third. "All we can control right now is winning the rest of our games, and we're going to have to have Nike Max Air Basketball Shoes
Seven losses piled up and yet the Leafs still sounded like a team that had hope. Giving up huge leads in the standings to the Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals to fall into a four way tie at 80 points was one thing.
This was the first time in franchise history that Toronto (36 32 8) Nike Air Max 2016 Camo went eight straight games without a point since 1996 and the first time it lost eight consecutive in regulation since 1985.
Every game down the stretch is big for the Leafs now. They return to Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night to face the Calgary Flames before hosting the Atlantic Division champion Boston Bruins on Thursday and the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
The Leafs have been paying since they last won a game, Mar. 13 at the Los Angeles Kings. Most importantly they haven't been picking up valuable points with the games whittling down to the end of the regular season.
"It was the first hat trick I ever had, which is pretty special," Helm said. "Big game to win, too. I was happy to win the game, first off, but the hat trick is a nice thing to take home."
"This loss is the most disappointing out of the eight. There's Air Max 2017 For Men
Asked what he figured the difference was in the loss, his third straight since returning from a groin injury, goaltender Jonathan Bernier (24 saves on 28 shots) said: "Odd man rushes."
Squandering the most important game of this stretch so far to a fellow Eastern Conference wild card competitor felt like the breaking point.
"We gave up odd man situations repeatedly for whatever reason," he said. "It's tough to say from the bench, that's something you notice when you watch the game again. But the try is there, just we didn't get the job done and we have to pay for that now."
"It's not like we're playing bad hockey, it's just one of those things where every mistake that we do make ends up (in our net)," said defenceman Cody Franson, who opened the scoring 10:57 into the first period. "It's the end of the season, everybody's clamping down and your little mistakes end up costing you. Plain and simple."
Mistakes like a turnover by Phil Kessel on the power play early in the second that led to Helm's first, a short handed goal. Or like the puck taking a bad hop off Franson and right to Helm for his third.
no hiding that," captain Dion Phaneuf said. "We come tonight against a team that was battling for that same spot and they win this hockey game. This is the toughest loss for sure."
"We've won six in a row in the season," Bernier said. "Obviously it's hard to snap the long losing streak like that, but we've got to find a way. If not, then we'll be home very soon."
Detroit Red Wings beat Torotnon Maple Leafs as losing streak hits eight
On the other hand, Detroit has picked up 11 points and gone on an impressive run without star forward Pavel Datsyuk and captain Henrik Zetterberg. The injuries have piled up, but the Red Wings have gotten 21 goals in 26 games from Nyquist and continued solid performances from goalie Jimmy Howard (25 saves) to remain in the playoff race.
The task in front of them is to prevent doing even once more Womens Air Max Boots
But Saturday night in the home locker room at Air Canada Centre, the Leafs looked defeated for the first time during this losing streak or this once hopeful season that has quickly gone off the rails.
Phaneuf didn't want to consider that daunting task. The defenceman whose miscues cost the Leafs in previous defeats didn't want to think too far ahead but also called this a "very trying" time for a group that was in second place in the Atlantic Division as recently as Mar. 16.
"It just isn't meant to be for us right now, and this is the tough ones," coach Randy Carlyle said.
With just six games remaining two less than each of the three teams they're competing with for two spots the Leafs are fourth among those teams and know the difficult task in front of them.
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