Those three-point NHL games surely work against you, too
Those who think the three-point game has been the Maple Leafs’ greatest weapon so far this season might be correct. But it also is a very large obstacle to overcome and Thursday’s results point out exactly why.
Montreal beat Boston 2-1 in a shootout and Ottawa beat Tampa Bay 3-2 in overtime. So there are four teams ahead of the Leafs in the Eastern Conference – well, sure, everybody’s ahead of the Leafs, pending the outcome of Friday’s game in Carolina – and there they go splitting up three points.
Once you get on the wrong side of things, which the Leafs most certainly are by winning only one of their first 13 games, the three-point game works against them. And remember, approximately 20 per cent of NHL games get past the 60-minute mark and add the third point. So there is a constant supply of them working against you when you’re down.
Once a team is on the right side of things – in the playoffs, say – the three-point game becomes an ally. A club can lose a bunch of games but still rescue points here and there, the way the Leafs are doing it lately.
But the only sure way up the ladder is to win games and preferably win them within 60 minutes. A few of those will lift any team from nowhere to somewhere in a hurry.
As for the Leafs, could they have a better chance for a win than they get in Carolina tonight? The Hurricanes, winning only twice in 14 starts, have lost 10 games in a row and Eric Staal is out. Plus, Ray Whitney is hurt and could be a game-time decision. If the Peddimen can’t handle this one, look out.
While we’re up, happy 148th birthday to Dr. James Naismith, the Canadian who invented basketball. Plus, note that tomorrow marks the 47th anniversary of Glenn Hall playing in his 502nd consecutive NHL game in goal. Without a mask, too. Absolutely unbelievable in this day and age.
You can talk all the great sports records that will never be broken and this one surely fits at or near the very top. The streak ended not with a slapshot to the mouth, although he took plenty of those, but after Hall threw his back out bending over to lace up his skate.