Leafs must bank points over next 10 games

Photo: Associated Press

The Leafs dropped their sixth game of the season against the Bruins on Saturday night, but the optimistic take is that maybe a lineup weak down the middle can still raise their game to compete with the better teams. A solid second period is something the coaching staff and players will no doubt look to as something to build on tomorrow against Minnesota.

The Wild are 10-4-4 and, as it stands, have the most points of any opponent Leafs will face until the end of November. Here’s the break down of the next 10 games:

Remaining November Opponents

OpponentCurrent Record
Total Record63 - 67 - 14
Wild10 - 4 - 4
Sabes3 - 15 - 1
Sabres3 - 15 - 1
Islanders6 - 9 - 3
Predators8 - 7 - 2
Capitals9 - 8 - 1
Columbus6 - 10 - 0
Penguins11 - 6 - 0
Sabres3 - 15 - 1
Canadiens9 - 8 - 1

That’s really weak. The total record doesn’t even account for the fact that the Leafs play the 3-15-1 Sabres three times before the end of the month (record was only included once). Contrast this with what the Leafs are facing once the calendar flips to December:

First 10 December Opponents

Total Record96 - 51 - 23
Sharks10 - 2 - 5
Stars8 - 7 - 2
Senators7 - 6 - 4
Bruins11 - 5 - 1
Kings11 - 6 - 0
Blues11 - 2 - 2
Hawks12 - 2 - 4
Penguins11 - 6 - 0
Panthers3 - 11 - 4
Coyotes12 - 4 - 2

Wow. That’s a nightmare. Not only in terms of strength of competition, but between December 3rd (vs. Sharks) and December 17th, the Leafs will play ten games over 15 days.

It’s not even fair, really. The Leafs had a six day break last week, and are currently on their third day off in between a Saturday and a Wednesday game. They’re going to pay for it in the final month of 2013. Taking seven of ten through the end of November may be what the Leafs need to do if they want to be in a playoff position come Christmas.

Some Tuesday morning links…

The Leafs’ feel the current available hockey analytics are of no use to them, but have heard many pitches from different analytics groups. Apparently the Leafs don’t use the money available to them for this type of research, but are open to if they feel someone comes along with something useful.

Jonas Siegel has some good, some bad, and some ugly from the Leafs/Bruins game on Saturday

From last week, Siegel interviewed Bernier about his move from LA to Toronto.

Paul Ranger adjusting to life in the NHL. He’s been better recently and it would be great if Ranger became part of the solution on the backend as the season progresses.

Tampa Bay got a really bad break last night. So did the NHL and Hockey Canada.

The Bruins 1-2-2 forecheck. A breakdown of the Leafs’ struggles to deal with the textbook Bruin forecheck.

– Don’t usually link to the Bleacher Report, but this is a good analysis of what the author labels a “fast break” system; it’s strengths and limitations. We’ve been talking about this stuff here for some time but this is a well written and thorough take.