A Little Luck Here...

Maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention, but nobody seems to have noticed that the Montreal Canadiens have been a truly horrible team this season. Let's compare them to the Leafs in regulation games this season:

Games Wins Losses Ties Goals For Goals Agt
MON 23 3 11 9 49 65
TOR 21 3 11 7 53 72

Because of the vagaries of the NHL's OT/SO system, even though Montreal has played just as badly as Toronto, they're tied for 8th in the East with 23 points, while Toronto's in last place with 14 points. If you think there's something about the Canadiens that allowed them to go 8-1 in the extra frames, while Toronto's obviously a 1-6 team, I'd love to hear it. Even allowing for Vesa Toskala's crappy goaltending, we'd expect Montreal to be 5-4 and the Leafs at 3-4.

And things bode much worse for Montreal going forward than for Toronto. At 5-on-5, the Canadiens have been outshot by 3.5 shots-per-game, while Toronto has outshot its opponents by 4.6 shots-per-game:

GF/60 SF/60 SVPCTA GA/60 SA/60 SVPCTF
MON 2.0 25.9 925 2.4 29.4 918
TOR 2.0 32.7 940 3.0 28.1 894

And it's not as though Montreal's shot total is high because they've been leading and gone into a defensive shell - they've been behind just as often in regulation as the Leafs.

Bottom line: both Montreal and Toronto have sucked so far. But I'm sure if the Leafs had 23 points today because they'd gotten lucky in the shootout and in OT, the hand-wringing alert would be several levels lower.

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