Toronto Maple Leafs 4 at Pittsburgh Penguins 1 – 2022-11-26 recap

We’re a few days behind, so this recap will just be the numbers. Well, the numbers AND a few statistics on how various Leaf coaches have fared in back to back games.

I noted on Twitter during the game that the Maple Leafs go into back-to-back games with the mentality of having to win both, rather than hoping for a split and being happy with it.

It’s a small, noticeable difference but I think it’s a real point in favour of Sheldon Keefe’s attitude. No game is ever lost. Under Mike Babcock, starting with the ’17-18 season (the first year the team was “good” wire to wire) the Leafs had 72 points per 82 in the second game of a back-to-back, 22nd in the NHL. Under Sheldon, it’s 104 points per 82, 6th-best.

That seems like a pretty major difference, but it really… isn’t. Back-to-back games take place the night following a different game [citation needed] and the Babcock-era Leafs were the best in the league at winning that first game. The Babcock Leafs came away with at least two points in a back-to-back set 88% of the time, compared to 76% for the Keefe Leafs. The Babcock Leafs swept fewer back-to-back sets, but maybe there’s something to be said for only bothering to win the first.

Anyway, it’s moot, since the Leafs won both halves of this back-to-back, with a Friday win in Minnesota and a Saturday win in Pittsburgh.

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