The Toronto Maple Leafs are playing out of their minds right now, and though each game doesn’t always give the deserved rewards, if they keep playing like this, they are going to be unstoppable.
Last night the Toronto Maple Leafs lost a game to the Oilers in overtime that they had no business losing, but that’s hockey!
The Leafs had a 56% puck possession rating last night, while holding Connor McDavid scoreless in regulation, and the Oilers scored a complete fluke on the goalie who was a) the Leafs 4th string goalie when the season started and b) the literal worst player in the NHL last season.
Add in the absolutely atrocious refereeing that saw just two minor penalties (split evenly, I know, it’s shocking) all game, and you can’t get too upset with the result.
Toronto Maple Leaf Are On Fire
The Leafs have points in four straight games, and have now played six in a row where their puck possession has been 54% or higher (you almost always win with a 54% CF). In all but one of these six games, the Leafs had an expected-goals percentage approaching 60%. (naturalstattrick.com).
Last night in a game featuring both Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, the Leafs had 60% of the scoring chances. That is VERY good.
Also very good: The Leafs are done playing the Oilers and in nine games have gone 6-1-2. Arguably the second best team in the Canadian Division, the Oilers managed one regulation win in nine tries vs the Leafs.
In the Leafs last 11 games, they’ve gone 4-6-1 and lost their huge first place lead. The crazy thing about those 11 games is that the Leafs were the (by far) best 5v5 team in ten of them. They played those 11 games with a combination of three goalies, two of whom obviously returned too soon from their injuries, and one of whom started the year as the 4th stringer.
Under the goalie circumstances alone, the record is excusable. But when you consider that they have the league’s best power-play and that it has inexplicably gone south, it’s pretty crazy to consider where they could be.
Shooting percentage is a funny thing. You can expect the Leafs – who are playing their best hockey of the year – to reverse this trend and go on an absolute bender to even things out.
Additionally, I was reading last night on Twitter that the Leafs are at or near the bottom of the league when it comes to differential between hitting the post, and having the other team hit their post. I spent along time searching but could not find the post again. Suffice to say, that is something that will also even itself out over time.
So, to sum up: The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team that is playing extremely good right now despite several things (posts, goalies, PP) that are inordinately unlucky. When things correct themselves, and they will, the Leafs will be unstoppable.