With the Leafs sporting an unlikely record of 7-3-1 on the first day of November many people are asking: when will the bottom fall out? This Leafs team, while playing well, has benefited from a significant amount of luck over the first month of the season. For an illustration of this look no further than their record in one goal games: 5-1-1. Only two of their wins were by more than one goal, the opening 2-0 win over the Habs and the 4-2 victory over the Rangers. While the fan section of my brain remains steadfastly assured that this team is indeed too legit to quit, the rational writer section knows that the Leafs going to lose more than three games this month. They might even lose two in a row, something they have yet to do this season. That’s fine. Every team does. What they need to avoid is their habit of losing more than 5 straight games, something they have managed to accomplish each year since the lock-out. How’s that for consistency!
Because I hate myself, and you, I’m going to go through each of the aforementioned periods of futility in the hopes that we will gain some perspective on just how bad this team used to be. It should also provide some sense of the appropriate time to hit the panic button.
Here goes nothing.Deep inhale.
In 2005-2006 the Leafs lost 8 straight games in January. Four of those 8 were one-goal games; they finished the month an impossible 3-10.
In 2006-2007 they lost 7 games in a row between the end of November and December. This may have been the worst stretch. There was only one one-goal game and they were outscored 29-9 during the streak. They went 6-14 over a 20 game stretch from November 18 to December 30th.
Their 2007-2008 streaks were modest in comparison. Their longest streak that year was five games in early January with two one-goal games.
What 2008-2009 lacked in quality it made up for in quantity. The Leafs managed to string together two separate five game losing streaks that season. The first was right after their first win of the season. That streak had two shoot-out losses and two blowouts. The second came in mid November with two OT losses and another one-goal loss. They also endured a four game streak in; you guessed it, January, although they managed to pick up points in two of those games.
2009-2010 is still fresh in our collective memory. The Leafs stumbled out of the gate, losing 8 straight games and wouldn’t win their third until November 7th. Only two of those 8 losses were one-goal games. They managed 4 consecutive overtime or shootout losses after their first win of the season. The Leafs finished the month of October with a record of 1-7-4. The Buds went 3-17 over the first 20 games of the season. To make matters worse they upheld the annual tradition of January futility by accumulating 6 straight losses. They won only 3 games that month. Thankfull that streak helped rid the Leafs of Toskala and deliverd our current saviour Dion Phaneuf (Thanks again, Sutter) Holy hell has this team been terrible for a while now. Okay, still with me? Here is a reward for your bravery in courage in reading this whole thing. DION SMASH!
Man he’s great, almost makes you glab for all those losing streaks. We made it, only one more season left, 2010-2011. Last season the Leafs found a way to lose 8 straight games between late October and early November. This streak had three straight losses by one goal including two in OT. They followed that up with a four game streak ending in early December. On the plus side, they wouldn’t lose more than 3 games in a row the rest of the season.
So there it is, six seasons of futility summed up in one depressing article. Have the Leafs turned a corner or does Nikolai Kulemin have some sort of Chernobyl Rabbit’s Foot? Tradition dictates a multi-game losing streak for this team, the big question is; can they keep it under 6 games?