Saturday, December 09, 2006

Leafs looking for their offence

The Maple Leafs are playing in Detroit at the moment, a tough test for a team that has lost six in a row coming in, and in the early going it's 1-0 for the Red Wings.

There's no single reason for Toronto's mini-slump — but one thing that's been hard to miss is just how much difficultly Paul Maurice's troops have had scoring goals. Back before the season started, 'where would the offence come from?' was the question I'd posed to Leafs Nation, along with a list of projected goal tallies for all of Toronto's shooters.

Early on this year, scoring wasn't a problem — Toronto was, in fact, one of the NHL's top scoring teams — but the team's managed only eight goals during its recent slide. And while it's only been six miserable games, I find myself going back to that same old question, wondering who's going to be able to kick start this team's offence.

Comparing the two lists — my original predicted tally from the preseason and the on-pace totals I calculated today at Globe on Hockey — the biggest boost has come from Darcy Tucker, who is on pace for 26 more goals than I'd given him. Otherwise, it's slim pickings in the 'over performing' category.

I'd predicted just 231 goals for the Leafs this season, which would almost definitely be a below-average total, and prior to tonight's game, the team was on pace for 251 (a number that's been dropping steadily the past two weeks). Where they eventually slot in, in my opinion, will determine whether there's a return to the playoffs in their future — and, at the moment, things don't look promising.


At 2:53 p.m., December 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great point, James... if you went by their effort, you'd think the Leafs would score more, but the scoring touch just isn't there.

I'll admit I was blinded to that when they were ekeing out wins earlier on.

At 3:50 p.m., December 10, 2006, Anonymous ken said...

It's not just that they're losing, but the way they're losing. That game last night was an absolute disgrace.

The Leafs, if they want to score, may want to consider not shooting the puck directly into the opposing goalie's stomach. Now, Hasek's a great goalie, but at least make him work for the save.

At 4:29 p.m., December 10, 2006, Anonymous Mats said...

I'd always thought the way to the net was through the goalie's stomach. Oh-the way to his heart?

At 12:44 a.m., December 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is it possible that two NHL teams situated onlyh 250 miles apart play only once in three years?

At 1:34 a.m., December 11, 2006, Blogger Nick said...

I wish they'd play toronto more too. Bring back the Norris division.

At 1:31 p.m., December 11, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Hey, can I get a little love for telling folks to put their money on Ottawa over the Leafs a couple of weeks ago?


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