So far in this young season, they've been just as enigmatic, posting one of the league's worst rates in Corsi and Fenwick close, and getting outchanced 5-on-5. Despite this, they've won all three games, and lead the league standings. You can't say anything from three games, of course, but it's funny to see things following a fmailiar pattern.
|Game||Leafs Chances||Opp. Chances|
|Overall||Even Str.||Overall||Even Str.|
|Oct. 1 @ MTL||22||10||24||18|
|Oct. 2 @ PHI||10||7||20||11|
|Oct. 5 v. OTT||27||21||19||18|
A net -4 overall, and -9 at even strength. The Leafs have been good on the powerplay, getting a lot of chances in both the Ottawa and Montreal games with the extra man (and one with a man less, Bozak's goal against the Habs.
The most concerning aspect of the Leafs' early games has been poor starts, they've been outchanced by 11 at even strength in the first period of the three games, and actually managed to win the rest of the game after that, albeit narrowly. As I mentioned in the Ottawa game write-up, they've given up only 6 chances in the last ten minutes of games, and just 3 in the last five minutes, including in two games where the opponents were trailing and needing a goal.
Now for a quick overview of the players this week. I'll just look at even strength chances, and introduce some new measures; chances for/against/net per 60 minutes.
No surprise that much of the team is in the negative, given the team's overall totals. I'll look at some players from a chance perspective, see how it fits with my eyes and other impressions. It's worth noting that 3 games is a useless sample size, there's a lot of noise in these stats. You can't really make any serious conclusions from the data; it's still fun to look at, though.
Dave Bolland (2 goals, 1 assist | 14.0 chances for/60 (CF/60), 6.3 chances against/60 (CA/60))
The best player for the Leafs against Ottawa, and though the chances didn't reflect it, two goals in the Philadelphia win.
Nikolai Kulemin (2 assists | 5.7 CF/60, 1.9 CA/60)
One of only two players (along with Bolland) above 52% in Corsi. On for less than two even strength chances/60. Not creating offensively, but when you can shut down opponents like that, you don't need to worry about that nearly as much.
Carl Gunnarson (13.3 CF/60, 9.5 CA/60)
Not a flashy player, but effective. Gunnarson was one of only a few Leafs to post a positive chance split.
Nazem Kadri (1 goal, 2 assists | 10.6 CF/60, 19.8 CA/60)
Bolland eating into Kadri's ice time isn't a surprise; the young centre hasn't been particularily good this week. Of all the forwards that you'd consider offensive threats (ie. not goons or checkers), only the injured Kulemin was on for fewer chances.
Troy Bodie (2 assists | 18.1 CF/60, 25.9 CA/60)
Some bad luck for Bodie, I think, as he's looked very good to my eyes, and generated chances much better than I'd expect from what I figured would just be a plug-in checking line guy. The problem is, with just getting a few minutes a game, a couple of bad performances really dent his numbers, and he has been on for a lot of chances against, 10 in 22 minutes.
James Van Riemsdyk (2 goals | 14.5 CF/60, 21.3 CA/60)
One of the team's worst defensive records. When you consider his powerplay time, he's actually even, but just at even strength he's been the lowest of a line that has been soundly outchanced. Anecdotally, I've definitely seen some defensive sloppiness from him as well.
Also worth noting that on the defense, Fraser and Franson have poor numbers, while Ranger has the best other than Gunnarson. Not sure I agree with the Ranger call given how he's looked, but he's been good in terms of chances.