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Six in Five: We all saw that streak coming

The Maple Leafs put the lie to anyone’s calculation of their points pace by going on a tear through some top teams.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

With 12 five-game segments in the books, the Leafs have taken six or more points seven times. After flirting with a pace just below Mike Babcock’s six in five benchmark for several weeks, they blew it away over the last 15 games.

The Leafs currently sit at 75 points, three points ahead of the six-in-five pace. And if you extrapolate that out, you get a final tally of 102 points. But what the Leafs actually will achieve over the remaining 22 games of the season in anyone’s guess. If this streak has illustrated anything, it’s that “on pace for” is nonsense.

The rolling five-game line still jitters all over the place. But with most of the season over, you can see that usually the blue line for this year is above the red line. Most of the time, therefore, the Leafs are getting more points than last year, and this recent chunk of 10 games outdid the streak at the end of last year that got them the playoff spot.

That final 20 games of the season last year, played against a lot of teams who had sold off players and given up or else had already locked up their playoff spot, stuck in everyone’s mind and for a lot of fans, it’s what they remember about last year.

This year, all of that blue line, the times when it skids along the 10-point ceiling, or the times it dips to two points, that’s all the same team, and ignoring the downs makes you expect heights the team might not be able to reach.

The next five games begin today with the second half of a back-to-back, and then the Leafs embark on the easiest part of their schedule as they are one of only five teams who have finished 60 games.

After today’s game in Detroit, the Leafs get another gentle set of home games every other day. They face Florida, the Islanders and then Boston next Saturday.

With Sunday off, the Leafs are in Tampa on deadline day to start the Florida back-to-backs, and that should make for a fun week full of trade rumours and speculation. Oh, and hopefully some wins against two of the Atlantic’s worst teams and two of the best.

The day after deadline day, while the Leafs are in Florida getting ready to play the Panthers with whatever new teammates Lou Lamoriello conjured up, we’ll meet again to see how it’s all going.