Toronto Star, March 3rd, 2008 [link here]
Hope certainly springs eternal in Leafs land - I know you've got to believe. But when you talk about overcoming the odds, wouldn't it be good to know what the odds are?
I ran the rest of the schedule using a pretty simplistic model: I assumed that every team was as good as their pythagorean record suggested at this point. That's not strictly true, since injuries and trades will change a team's inherent ability...but I'm really interested in the quick-and-dirty answer here. I also assumed that the outcomes of shootouts and OT were completely random...because they certainly appear to be.
At any rate, here are the Leafs chances based on 10000 random trials:
In playoffs: 3.6% [Out of playoffs = 96.4%]
8th place = 2.6%
7th place = 0.9%
6th or better = 0.12%
Their average record going forward is 6-9-1, so it's not surprising they have really low odds to hit the 10-5-1 record posted by the average playoff-bound Leafs squad in my simulation.
My advice: don't try to budget your beer money to last into the playoffs...