4-2-1, 9 points
2-3-1, 5 points
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.
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.
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:
- For the microstat-inclined, the Panthers game against the Islanders is broken down.
- Bill Torrey is the Panthers’ first honoured alum.
- What a shock: Fox is doing something scummy so Panthers fans can’t see the game tonight.
- Nikolai Kulemin is heading back where he belongs alongside Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak.
- Ron Wilson thinks that Dion Phaneuf is too pre-occupied about getting points because of the media.
Time for your flashback, Phil Kessel’s highlight reel goal: