Okay, to be perfectly honest, winning by way of some dull defensive battles can be a little tedious. Those points will be fun later, however.
One of the things to remember when you start looking at the standings instead of analyzing the team, is that you don’t have to give back the points you didn’t “deserve”. This is true for Tampa, who the Leafs are chasing, somewhat fruitlessly right now, in the Atlantic. They’re coasting on a heady mix of luck and a lot of skill, and eventually they might need to rely on just the skill. But they get the keep the points they already have.
This is also true for the Leafs who are 7-0 in overtime and shootout results (this should say 5-0, with two other one-goal game wins), and who shouldn’t count on that being the case a month from now. But that’s still seven “winner points” you don’t have to give back no matter what happens in the next seven overtimes.
The Leafs are in third place right now. In the entire league. I think that might mean they’re doing okay. They’re fifth in points percentage and still have a real lead on Ottawa, not one made up just of more games played.
Isn’t that pretty? Ten out of ten is all you can ask for. Five wins in a row after the roughest California trip since the last one, and the Leafs are right back with two surplus points banked for the next stretch of losses. Because there will be another stretch of losses, that’s the thing you can count on the most.
Ten points in five games was achieved only once last year. It’s not an easy thing to do. Ideally you don’t want wild swings of losing all the time followed by winning all the time, but it all worked out, and the Leafs are well ahead of where they were this time last year where they had only 20 points. They are easily on track for a playoff spot.
That’s enough wallowing in past glory. On to the next five games:
The next set of games runs until next Saturday, and if that seems like a lot of games packed into one week, it is. The Leafs have a packed schedule coming up, but the quality of the teams faced in the next set is not high.
First up is a trip to Montréal on Saturday; then the Leafs come home to face the Coyotes on a dismal Monday evening. The ‘Yotes finally won one in regulation, don’t know if you heard. After that, there’s a quick trip south to play Florida and Carolina on either side of American Thanksgiving before the the Leafs come home to the struggling Washington Capitals.
The Capitals game is the only back-to-back in the set, so it should be a straight run of Frederik Andersen until the Leafs get to Carolina and have to decide which team should see Curtis McElhinney. Perhaps that will depend on turkey consumption the day before.
We will meet here on the Monday after to assess the state of things. Can the Leafs add to the banked points? Or will they have to use some?