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Monday's FTB: Fun Factoids

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The Leafs are riding high as they prepare to face the Sabres tomorrow night.

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

We're heading into a make-or-break part of the season, but things are sunny in Leafland.

  • The Leafs are in a playoff spot and even threatening to finish second (!) in the Atlantic.  They're three points back of second-place Boston with five games in hand.
  • The Leafs are tied for the second-best record in their last ten in the whole NHL--both they and Minnesota have put up 8-1-1.  Only Washington (9-0-1) is better--and the Leafs pushed Washington to overtime in their most recent meeting (Washington is the Leafs' OTL in that 8-1-1.)
  • Knock aggressively on wood, but the Leafs' NHL roster has maintained an extremely healthy top nine at forward and top four on defence; only a few missed games from Tyler Bozak mar the picture.  A big portion of this is very good luck, but a portion is also youth--of those thirteen players, only Bozak and Leo Komarov are over 27.
  • This one's a little involved, but it's fun.  Take the thirty teams in the NHL, and rank 'em 1-30 based on their 5v5 adjusted CF%, how close their shots-for are, and how distant their shots-against are.  Average those three rankings into one overall ranking.  The #1 team in the league?  Toronto.

If the Leafs can get through their murderous February schedule in solid shape--a tall order, but not impossible--we're probably going to be the first team in a decade to go from last in the league to a playoff spot.


ICYMI

Katya: Kasperi Kapanen Injured Unfortunately, that great Leafs' health hasn't protected the Marlies, as hotshot winger--and probable best player--Kasperi Kapanen is now injured.

Katya: Euro Prospect Report Carl Grundstrom continues to raise hell.

Fanpost: When ____ Scores A Goal In cherished PPP tradition, commenter JimboJet takes a swing at a dumb statistic.

Links

The Athletic: Nikita Zaitsev Profile A look at the Leafs' new top RHD.  CSKA Moscow apparently wants him back, so Lou may have a bidding war on his hands as Zaitsev goes RFA this summer.  Zaitsev seems to like it here, though.  (I've linked this because it's generally good, but there's a dumbo quote about Russian work ethic that shouldn't have made it into the piece.)

TLN Monday Mailbag Our friendly rival Jeffler answers his mail.  I don't think he does nearly enough insane Pokémon and philosophy questions, but matter of taste I suppose.

MLHS: Mike Babcock Quotes On Auston Matthews Babs has been very impressed with Auston's play without the puck.

The Ice Garden: An Open Letter To Hayley Wickenheiser A fan pays tribute to one of the most iconic hockey players in history upon her retirement.

SBN: NHL To Scrap Breakaway Skills Competition People seemed to be enjoying the goofiness of the breakaway competition, and of course we can't have that.

Have a wonderful day, everyone.  It's going to be touch and go, but we're cheering for the most exciting Leafs team since Mats.