There is an old adage in Leaf Land: the Leafs always do the opposite of what you expect. As you can tell, Torontonians have been expecting them to win the Stanley Cup for forty-seven-years.
No one expected the Leafs to win two out of three in California, not including the delusional die-hards.
The truth is, Eastern Conference clubs get devoured when they travel through California for three straight against the Ducks, Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.
The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t win once when they visited the Golden State.
But what about the Montreal Canadiens?!?! They’re good right? I mean, they’ve won the most Stanley Cups! The Habs played an advanced California tour that forced them to stop in L. A. first, where they lost 2-1. They beat the Ducks 4-3 in a shootout, then lost to the Phoenix Coyotes and again to the San Jose Sharks.
You almost don’t even want to include the Red Wings with the other Eastern Conference clubs because before this season, Western Conference road trips were a thing of the norm. However, even though the Red Wings are new to the East, and are significantly more acclimatized to play in California, they managed one win against the Ducks, Sharks and Kings when they took their turn.
The Ottawa Senators, you ask? 0-3 in Cali.
The Florida Panthers are on a plane right now, about to face the Sharks, then the Coyotes, followed by the Kings and then Ducks. I guess, anything is possible with Luongo in net.
The lowly Buffalo Sabres won one of three through Cali, which is impressive considering the franchise has spent the last calendar year unloading as many players as possible with the hope of a brighter future.
The Penguins never truly had a trip through California. They beat the Kings to conclude the month of January, then they left. The Pens returned to Cali on March 6, and lost to the San Jose Sharks. The following night they beat the Ducks. Technically, the Penguins went 2-1 in Cali, but the games were not consecutive so it kind of doesn’t count.
The Columbus Blue Jackets went 1-1-1- in California but I can’t really talk about it because they’re the CBJ and they don’t get a lot of attention; Who am I to change that?
The New York Rangers trip through Cali resulted in your typical 1-2 record. The Rangers beat the Kings then got blown away by the Sharks and the Ducks.
The Flyers – just like the Leafs – went 2-1 in California. And also, much like Toronto, the Flyers visited the Golden State recently. Perhaps, this is the best time of year to play against California’s Big Three.
The New Jersey Devils also won two of three in Cali, needing extra time to dethrone the Kings and de-cracker the Ducks.
The Capitals are only now about to play in California. They really need to win a few in Cali because they’re currently outside of the playoff picture and time is running out.
Guess how the Hurricanes did in California! 1-2 – standard issue.
The Islanders also went 1-2 against the Ducks, Sharks, Kings, in case you’re wondering.
The Leafs did good in Cali – is what I’m saying – but the worry is: Toronto always do the opposite of what you expect of them. And after pulling four of six available points in Cali, the expectations are high. So… no more surprises, right Leaf fans?