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Validating Common Knowledge

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Mc79hockey posted an interesting table of information today. The full table is available in MC79's post but I've highlighted the Leafs' performance compared to the league average:

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I don't know that there is anything here that is too earth shattering. It's really a case of the numbers backing up what you can see with your eyes. When a team has a lead they generally fall back to protect their lead and when they are behind they begin to fire the puck at the net from anywhere which lets them build an advantage in shots.

Saturday's game was an example of a team taking their foot off the pedal after running over an opponent. In the third period with a 7-4 lead the Bruins were outshot 12-5 by the Maple Leafs.

Last year's game against the Kings on January 10th which signalled a sea change in my view on the team is another example. The game was over after the first period when the Kings built up a 4-0 lead thanks to Andrew Raycroft's ineptness. The Leafs went on to pepper LaBarbera with 50 shots and outscored the Kings 2-1 but it was nothing to take to heart. The Leafs may not be the worst perpetrators of these false comebacks but I bet we could come up with many more examples.

On the other end of the spectrum here are a couple of examples of the Leafs' sitting on a lead that blew up in their faces:

  1. Leafs go up 3-0 early on the St. Louis Blues before collapsing
  2. Leafs go up 3-0 and 4-1 on Wendel Clark Night and then crumble in the presence of his awesomeness
  3. The most epic example: Leafs fans get kicked square in the nuts as the Sabres highlight Maurice's inability to call timeouts. Probably just a one-off problem.
  4. Leafs go up 3-1 heading into the third and let a goat score the game winner in OT.
  5. One week later the Leafs try again with a bigger lead. The end result: another loss.
  6. And who can forget the Poni empty net brainfart? Well, I could before Chemmy reminded me.

Can you think of any recent ones that fall within that 2003-2009 time frame? I know that the worst ever was that St. Louis Blues 5-0 collapse but that was during Cujo's first stint so it doesn't count. Except when it comes to giving Leaf fans a complex.