Thursday Mashup: Bruins in town, Verhaeghe signs, Ranger named Leafs’ Masterton nominee

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 10: Frederik Andersen #31 of the Anaheim Ducks watches as Paul Ranger #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs scores off a pass from Phil Kessel #81 Toronto Maple Leafs take a 3-0 lead during the second period at Honda Center on March 10, 2014 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins lost their first game in regulation since March 1st last night (17 games), and of course it was to a team the Leafs needed to have lose in the Detroit Red Wings. The Leafs only hope at this point is winning all of their remaining five and Columbus taking eight or less points out of their remaining 14 (they will not be able to win any tiebreak scenario given the ROW difference).

The Bruins come to town tonight in a back to back situation for them and an (absolute)must-win game for the Leafs. Columbus is in Philadelphia tonight. A shocking win over the runaway Eastern Conference leader (and current Presidents Trophy race leader) combined with a Blue Jackets loss in regulation would at least make things mildly interesting in the final four games.

Two news items from yesterday: The Leafs signed Carter Verhaeghe to his entry-level deal and the 18-year-old centerman will join the Marlies for the remainder of the season. Paul Ranger was named the Leafs’ Masterton Trophy nominee for his comeback season following three years out of the game.

More Leafs news:

– The Toronto Marlies are on the verge of clinching their third straight North Division title. Go see a Marlies game this Spring. A good team that plays very unlike the Leafs.
–  David Clarkson’s contract is buyout proof. Only solution to the problem is to attempt reclamation next season.
– We Match Up Well Against Boston, says Jake Gardiner. It’s been a couple of months since anyone has matched up well against Boston.
– Maple Leafs could learn a thing or two from Boston. Like, “try to be one of the best teams in hockey, rather than not one.”
– Paul Ranger considers return to the NHL a success. Feel good story here amid a lot of down notes the last few weeks.
Tim Murray weighs in on the Leafs analytics debate. Murray sounds reasonable on the subject: There will be times when an organization must pick between eyeballing vs. numbers on a decision, but there’s no harm in looking at both.