The Toronto Maple Leafs have played 15 games, so it’s time to check in on the six points in five games pace.
Never go to California.
Even by using all the savings created in the first section the Leafs are two points behind the pace. Wait. Only two? That doesn’t sound like a disaster they can’t recover from.
Their current points pace puts them at 88 total points, not the 98 the six in five pace gives you, but at this point in the season a few points one way or the other loom large when you start multiplying and using phrases like “on pace for”.
Which way is that line going to go next? Up, and how high? Or is it just going to flatline like the Arizona Coyotes and the Leafs will never win another game?
You can’t guess. But I do note that the only time last year the rolling average dipped to two was on the very last day of the year when the Leafs were already in the playoffs.
With American Thanksgiving approaching, we shall start to hear the mathematical trivia that teams more than four points out of a playoff spot on that day don’t very often make the playoffs. But this season is the season of maximum parity, and that rule is under heavy pressure.
There are not very many genuinely bad teams in the league. Buffalo has likely performed the poorest and is terrible without bad luck. Florida is close, and so is Arizona. Then you hit a mass of teams that have been very unlucky, or are just blah. Sort of meh. Not good enough to contend. But every one of them could make the playoffs with some luck, and while some need more luck than others, I don’t think the 4+ rule holds.
The only teams more than four points out of the playoffs in the east right now are Carolina, Florida and Buffalo.
What does parity mean to a team like the Leafs who are better than meh, but not really a top team yet? Same as any other year: Win every game you can.
As of now the Leafs are in third place in the Atlantic, one point behind Ottawa and tied with the Flyers who have the last wildcard spot. Parity is nerve racking.
As far as luck goes, the Leafs are under-performing expectations right now. That doesn’t usually last.
The next five games are all at home, barring the second half of a home and home with Boston. There is one four-day break before New Jersey drops by on the 16th. This is the easiest chunk of the November schedule in terms of rest and travel, so it’s time to fill the savings bank, starting with the sneakily good Las Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night.