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Six in Five: One last look at the Leafs regular-season points pace

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They made their quota and came tantalizingly close to setting the bar a notch higher.

Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs

The last Six in Five is here. I know the Leafs have one more game to play, but we can look at their points pace in advance of tonight’s game. First the last full segment of five games is in the can, so the full chart of attempts at six points in each bunch — Mike Babcock’s idea of a playoff minimum points pace — looks like this:

Ten of the 16 segments are at or over six points. Six in five over the 80 games shown here is 96 points, and of course the Leafs have 103. Ninety-five points is what the New Jersey Devils were at before they won their game 81, and as we know, they have just squeaked into the playoffs, so the cutoff is close to what you usually need to make it.

The Leafs are at 1.29 points per game over the first 80, and with the loss in game 81, are now at 1.27 points per game heading into tonight’s last game. That is very, very close to the 1.3 pace, I suggested should be the bar the Leafs look to clear next year.

If the Leafs win tonight, they will be at 1.28 on the season, so not quite. But if the Leafs can make an incremental improvement next season, have similar luck and injury woes, they could be looking at the 107 points total of a reasonable contender for first or second in the division.

For now, there’s no future games to think about beyond whoever the Leafs will face in the playoffs. Your regular season means nothing once they start. It’s a whole new game.

Either team — Boston or Tampa Bay — that the Leafs will face are at a points pace of 1.3 to not quite 1.4. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a very small difference when you phrase it like that. There’s a reason why, particularly in a season like this one with a lot of parity, that the regular season doesn’t rank the teams in anything like a perfect order of best to worst.

For now, let’s get a win against the Habs, set a couple of records and get ready for whoever it will be in the playoffs.

Go Leafs Go!