Wednesday, October 16, 2013

6-1 start for the Maple Leafs, does it mean anything?

It's official, Toronto's start to the 2013/14 season is their best one in twenty years. The Leafs haven't been better than 6-1-0 to start a season since their NHL record 10-0-0 beginning to the 93/94 campaign.
In fact the franchise has only had at least a 6-1 start in now six seasons. The other occasions it has happened:

2013/14 6-1-0, 27 Goals For - 16 Goals Against
1993/94 7-0-0, 35 GF - 15 GA
1980/81 6-1-0, 36 GF - 27 GA
1944/45 6-1-0, 35 GF - 17 GA
1941/42 6-1-0, 26 GF - 16 GA
1934/35 7-0-0, 23 GF - 9 GA

Amazingly, this is only the third time the Leafs have started a season this good in almost 70 years. The time previous to 93/94 is interesting in the fact that their hot start really didn't mean a thing once the season went on.

 The Wilf Paiement, Darryl Sittler, Jiri Chra-led Leafs would end up with a mere 71 points in 80 games. They had fallen back to a .500 record just over a month after going 6-1-0. It would take them 23 games to win their next six games. The Leafs made the playoffs by one point that season only to be swept aside by the Islanders.

The 1944/45 Leafs would fare infinitely better with their 6-1-0 start. Although they finished with only 52 points in a 50 game season, they ended up winning the Stanley Cup. The 41/42 version of the Leafs would carry their 6-1-0 start to second place overall and another Cup victory.

The 1934/35 Leafs and their perfect 8-0-0 start finished with 64 points in first place of the 48 game season. They would fall to the Montreal Maroons in the Cup Final. Of course the 93/94 10-0-0 Leafs ended up 5th overall in the 26 team NHL and lost the Semi-Finals to Vancouver.

So, a 6-1-0 start to an NHL season for Toronto means they will either go deep into the playoffs or be swept in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders.

Honestly, after only seven games, this really is how wide-ranging and ridiculous we should be predicting how this season plays out.

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