Game Preview: Maple Leafs v. Panthers





4-2-1, 9 points

2-3-1, 5 points

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PP %

12.5%, 18th

4.4%, 30th

PK %

88.5%, 7th

86.7%, 10th

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Goals For



Goals Against



The forever rebuilding Florida Panthers come to Toronto to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at a happy hunting ground. The Panthers have won five of their last seven games in Toronto including an 8-0 laugher in the 2007-2008 season just days after John Ferguson Junior was canned.

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While sections of Leafs Nation howl like banshees and overreact to a player’s comment or pretend that the last two games represent a return to the nadir of last season, I’d like to offer a little perspective:

2009-2010 After Seven Games

Record: 0-6-1, 1 point
Goals For: 14
Goals Against: 32

2010-2011 After Seven Games

Record: 4-2-1, 9 points
Goals For: 20
Goals Against: 18

That represents a drop in goals against of TWO goals per game. TWO per game! Along with that the team has almost increased by a goal per game. That is a three goal swing in the average scoreline. Obviously, this is a small sample size and there are aspects of the Leafs’ play over the past three games that are troublesome. However, to start saying the sky is falling is ridiculous.

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A fan poll prior to the start of the season resulted in 72 % of the respondents predicting that the Leafs would pick up between 8 and 12 points. The team is well within expectations. The timing of their wins is, I think, the main the driver behind the angst. If the team had started 0-2-1 and won their next four the Bloor Viaduct would be less crowded.

Some pre-game reading:

Time for your flashback, Phil Kessel’s highlight reel goal: 

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