With their win last night over the Carolina Hurricanes the Leafs have 16 wins on the season. 16 wins also happens to be the amount required to win the Stanley Cup. This made me wonder: how long did it take the last few Cup winners to win 16 games?
First things first, this is an extremely unscientific study, the results of which should in no way be interpreted as implying anything more than an interesting correlation. That being said, the Leafs still have a chance!
I only looked at the seasons after the lock-out but what I found was interesting:
No team to win the Cup the last six years took longer than 30 games to win their first 16 regular season games.
Here are the dates and Game Played for each of the last six Cup winner’s 16th regular season victory:
- 2010-2011 Boston- December 9th, 27GP.
- 2009-2010 Chicago- November 25th, 23GP.
- 2008-2009 Pittsburgh- December 11th, 29GP.
- 2007-2008 Detroit- November 27th, 24GP.
- 2006-2007 Anaheim- November 24th, 24GP.
- 2005-2006 Carolina- November 29th, 24GP.
For optimistic Leafs fans, the 2008-2009 Pittsburgh Penguins provide us with some hope. They won their 16th game only one game earlier than the 2011-2012 Leafs.
The 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks were very good. They took only 23 games to win 16; they also had a 9 game winning streak early in the season that year.
The average since the lockout is 25 games.
So if you’re team has yet to win 16 games this season, there is a good chance that they’re not going to win the Cup this spring.
While we shouldn’t read too much into this, we can take solace in the fact that the Leafs have improved since last season. In 2010-2011 they did not win their 16th game until January 7th, in their 40th game played.