It’s time again for Six in Five. The Leafs have now played 70 games and they have 89 points. That works out to 1.27 points per game. Mike Babcock’s quota he sets of six points is, of course, 1.2 points per game, so the Leafs are still ahead.
They built up a big buffer in the prior segment, and this bunch of five, for all it’s felt like the team play has slipped with injuries presenting challenges, the total is five points. Almost the quota.
Last time, at 65 games in, I talked about revising this goal to 1.3 points per game. If the Leafs are better than just a playoff team, that’s the results you want to see them get. Obviously, there’s a lot of random chance in wins and losses, but if you think the team is good, then 1.2 is not enough. This week they slipped a little below that 1.3.
As we see comparing the red line of last year to the blue of this, we’re past the point where they really started winning last year. There are 12 games left, and the Leafs don’t play Buffalo every night, so they can get enough of a points pace going to finish well over 100 points on the season. In order to maintain a six in five pace, they only need one point in their next five. So, things are looking pretty good, viewed this way.
The next five games start tonight in Buffalo with Curtis McElhinney in net, and no Frederik Andersen. No problem. Just keep scoring, Leafs.
After tonight’s game, the Leafs play the injury-ravaged Montréal Canadiens on Saturday at home. We all want a decisive win there, a hat trick for Tomas Plekanec and a shutout for whoever is in net.
The final three games of the set are next week and involve a road trip to Tampa and Nashville for games Tuesday and Thursday, and then the Leafs come home for Saturday again to face the Detroit Red Wings. This thing where all the bad teams this year really hate us and want to beat us is annoying.
So, to keep it at 1.2 points per game, the Leafs need one point out of that, to grow to 1.3 points per game, they need eight and a half. Let’s call it eight to be generous. Being really good is a lot harder than being just okay.
See you next time on six in five! Only two more to go.