Leafs are approaching record-level for PK failures 

January, 12, 2010

After going through 10 statistical categories yesterday, there's one question that still lingers with me: How can the Toronto Maple Leafs' penalty kill be so bad?

Through 46 games, the Leafs' PK ranks a distant 30th, killing just 68.3 percent of their penalties against. That is shockingly, amazingly bad! In fact, only the Los Angeles Kings have ever recorded a worse PK percentage since the NHL began keeping the statistic in the 1968 season. The Leafs' PK was awful last season too, but still finished at 74.7 percent -- 6.4 percent better than their current number.

In the post-lockout NHL, Leafs fans have gotten used to terrible penalty killing. In that span, they've ranked no higher than 24th in the league. Toronto's PK unit reached those lofty heights during the 2005-06 season when they killed at an 80 percent clip. In the three subsequent full campaigns, the Leafs' PK got progressively worse. Certainly, they're on track to make it four in a row.

This year, they surrendered at least one power-play goal in 10 of their first 11 games. And recently, they've lost their way again, giving up at least one PPG in each of their last eight contests. Let's take a closer look at why the Leafs have scuffled when a man down on the ice.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.