Games 66 through 70 were a tough stretch for the Leafs in one sense. They had a three-game road trip and came home to play the Chicago Blackhawks. The road trip did include some teams lower in the standings, but should you still expect a tired team in the heat of the playoff struggle to do that well?
It turns out the answer is yes, they can do well.
The five game chunks so far:
Seven points. In a majority road game set of five. I wonder, if the Leafs had beaten Chicago last night and that bar said eight not seven, would that feel a lot better now? But we don’t watch games for the effect on bar charts, do we?
Or line graphs:
Ignore the light blue line trailing off after 70, that’s just the unknown future.
The line graph is interesting in how similar it is to last year in overall shape, even with some key differences: higher highs, and much higher lows all along it.
It would be reading too much into two years of results to say that the Leafs or teams in general have third quarter dips in results, but it does make sense that the competition heats up at that point. Unless you’re really lucky and play only lottery teams in that period, you are hitting teams making a push just like you are.
And where are the lottery teams this year? The Western Conference, so the Leafs had their fun there back in December. Game 32 and 33 were the easy wins in Colorado and Arizona, and that started the only five game winning streak of the season.
That’s the past. The games can’t be replayed. Tomorrow is Boston. And a win against Boston is sweet at any time of the year.