Over the past few seasons, the Leafs have been a pretty solid team when it comes to the numbers. It’s interesting that now that the Leafs are at their hottest in recent history, the numbers don’t really support it.
Here’s a quick look at some of the interesting numbers since November 12th when the Leafs 14 game unbeaten in regulation streak started.
46.58% Corsi For %
Since the Leafs streak began, Toronto has had the 5th worst CF% in the league, and only Arizona, Chicago, Columbus, and St. Louis have been worse. That’s pretty wild, especially when you look at the Bruins, Devils, and Stars being at the other end of the spectrum and all being the top six of the league for CF%.
Is this a love letter to score effects? Kinda. When the Leafs are within one goal of their opponents, their CF% goes up to 50.78%, and when the game is tied the Leafs have the third best CF% over that stretch at 56.04%. When the Leafs have the lead their CF% dropped to a flat 40%.
There is something to be said for protecting leads, and we’ll call that the Jack Campbell difference as Samsonov and Murray both seem more willing to stop pucks.
After seeing the Leafs CF% it shouldn’t be any surprise that the Leafs have been on a PDO heater. That’s no biggie, the Bruins and Devils are right there with the Leafs in enjoying some unsustainable goaltending and/or shooting.
The nice thing is that even when the Leafs normalize they regress to a pretty decent team and the truth is the Leafs fall somewhere between their underwhelming 4-4-2 start and their 11-0-3 heater.
The Leafs expected goals against over this stretch have been pretty decent, the 10th best in the league in fact. It’s just their actual goals against have been the second best in the league. That’s a nice little reminder of what Murray, Samsonov, and to some extent Kallgren have been doing for Toronto.
Murray certainly looked human on Saturday night, and that could mark the beginning of the end for the Leafs’ heater, but the good news is Samsonov still hasn’t come back down to earth.
There’s also something to be said for the Leafs being better at limiting high danger opportunities, and that is a legitimate step forward for them this season. The fact that the Leafs were decent at suppressing those chances while down their top three defensemen, is a sign that this year could be different.
For all the hype around Mitch Marner’s 22 game point streak it certainly seems worth appreciating that Auston Matthews is back with a vengeance at 5v5. Matthews has been coming on strong and has led the Leafs in points over the past 14 games with 20 points. Oddly enough when you look at all situations William Nylander is still the Leafs goal leader over that time with 11 goals, but Matthews does come in second with 9, tying him with Mitch Marner.
When it comes to who has limited the chances, both Sandin and Giordano have 55 CA/60 over the past 14 games. The Jarnkrok, Engvall, and Kerfoot trio has continued to suppress shots with all three leading the Leafs forwards. What is perhaps even more encouraging are that John Tavares, and Mitch Marner are right behind them. The impact of Marner’s defensive responsibility on Tavares’ line has added a lot of stability to the Leafs lineup.
The good news is that luck or unsustainably good play are valid ways of winning, and if the Leafs needed to rely on that a bit more the normal during a time of unprecedented injuries, the Leafs will happily take it. As players return to health the Leafs will get a chance to keep the good times going, and as the season goes on, we’ll get a better understanding of what the true version of the Leafs looks like.