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Six in Five: Putting one bad game in perspective

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After 10 games, it’s time to check on the points progress.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Toronto Maple Leafs
“Me first,” says the Hurricane.
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

When Mike Babcock mentioned his six points in five games scheme this year for the first time, the Leafs were already outpacing it. So it seemed almost too tame a goal to stick with. But last night’s game, where the Hurricanes blew in and everyone on the Leafs has very clean clocks this morning, reminds us that the season is full of ups and downs.

When you step back, like we’re doing right now, you see that highs don’t last, and with a team like the Leafs, flaws and all, the lows don’t either.

And there we are, still with two points in the bank against future lows. They don’t collect interest, so it’s just exactly like money in the bank these days.

And relative to last year:

That shows a substantially better start to the season that last year. Just to put that into perspective relative to the league, this is where the Leafs were in the standings after 10 games last year:

And as of today, they are in sixth place with 14 points, only five points behind the high-flying Tampa Bay Lightning who will not keep up the pace they are setting.

I like looking at goal differential as a very rough way of erasing the effect of luck and shootouts on points and seeing what a team’s results really are. The Leafs are in eighth place with a +7, and that’s going to fluctuate over the season for sure, but +7 is a lot better than the -8 the Leafs had this time last year.

One curious thing I did notice, not every season follows a set pattern obviously, but last year at 9-10 games in, the lowest number of wins was 3 (Toronto was tied with Dallas and Arizona at that mark). Right now, the Coyotes still haven’t won a game and Montréal has only won two.

Okay, on to the next five games. They’re hard ones involving the Flyers who are so mad right now, you have no idea. Then it’s the Sharks, the Ducks, the Kings and the Blues. Hey, no problem. The goal here is to not draw any points out of the bank while partying in California, and to just get six or more the right way.

See you after game 15!