Closing in on the kill

- January 30th, 2012

What do the 2012 Maple Leafs have in common with the 1974 Chicago Blackhawks?
At first glance, not a hell of a lot, other than Jim Pappin played on the 1967 Leaf Cup team.
But if the Leafs were to get through Tuesday night’s game in Pittsburgh without giving up a power play goal, there would be a strong link. The ‘73-74 Hawks were the last NHL team to go a calendar month of at least 10 games without surrendering a man-advantage goal, defusing everything in the month of February in a 13-game span. Thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau for finding that nugget.
Heading into Steeltown this evening, the Leafs are 16-for-16 in 11 games. A more remarkable stat is that they’ve now played three power play-free games this month, including both ends of the sweep of the Isles. The irate New Yorkers begged to disagree with the offcials last Tuesday, especially when Joffrey Lupul got his arms up on John Tavares in a heavy second-period collision.
The Leafs still have the 30th-place penalty killing in the league at 75%.0, a lengthy sentence for their many sins in the autumn. But they are better than 10 teams at home right now at more than 80% and are just about even overall with the 29th-place Columbus Blue Jackets.
By Tuesday night, it could be time for Chico Maki, Cliff Koroll, John Marks, Phil Russell and Pit Martin to move over.

Categories: Hockey

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