Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Leafs are in a bit of a funk at home

Dating back almost one full calendar year to February 11, 2012 the Toronto Maple Leafs have three home victories in their last EIGHTEEN home matches. Yikes. Perhaps not surprisingly, this is not the worst home stretch ever for Toronto. In the midst of the 1984/85 season, during the halcyon days of Jim Benning, Peter Ihnacak and Tim Bernhardt the Leafs had one stretch of three home wins over a TWENTY-TWO game  period.

Beginning on October 17, 1984 with a 5-3 loss to the Hartford Whalers through to another 5-3 loss this time to Boston on January 9, 1985, Toronto went 3-17-2 at Maple Leaf Gardens. They would predictably finish last overall with 48 points that season and draft Wendel Clark the following summer.

The reality is however, the current run of home-ice ineptitude, although not as lengthy as the older one may be even worse. In 84/85's 22 game home slump the Leafs scored 70 goals and allowed 103 for an average of 3.18 and 4.68 per game. Over the duration of the current 18 game home stretch of embarrassment they have scored an average of only 2.06 goals per game while surrendering 3.67. Seeing as the average number of goals scored in an NHL game 28 years ago was almost 2 full goals higher (7.71/game to 5.78/game) it's difficult to compare which numbers are worse. Comparing to the league averages however, the 84/85 22 game stretch was about 20% worse than league norms while the current chunk is about 27% worse than league averages.

We really are splitting hairs here, both of these "streaks" are abysmal. The one main difference in the two teams from different eras is the fact that in 84/85 Toronto was equally as poor on the road as at home with a 10-24-6 record, while this year's saving grace has been the fact that they are 4-1-0 away from home. In all likelihood the Leafs are not as good a road team as they've shown and not as poor a home team either and in the end they'll still be what they are, a .500 hockey club fighting for a playoff berth.

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