Through the past five games, the Toronto Maple Leafs have won a total of…five games.
The Toronto Maple Leafs started one of their tougher travel weeks of the season with a big win in Phoenix last night. The win is the team’s fifth in a row giving them their first winning streak of that length in more than seven years.
January has seen a slight change to the way the Leafs have played, or at least to the results they have been getting in the standings. It was not very long ago at all when some of those so-called Leaf fans were calling for Head Coach Randy Carlyle’s head, now what are they calling for?!?
As is what pretty much every year that this team plays, that Leaf bandwagon seems to be getting a lot bigger these days. Five straight games have produced five straight victories.
Let us go back over them.
Jan 12 vs NJ Devils: success in the shootout continues (nobody knows why), half of the time they shouldn’t have to go to shootouts but they do. Leafs have plenty of skill in them, JVR is close to perfect in them, so is Lupul, Bozak is technically the best esp. in the Winter Classic. A soft goal on James Reimer put them into the SO then Leafs finished them off.
Jan. 14: Leafs back in beantown, one of the potentially scariest games of the season, actually results in a win in regulation time. That is correct, no overtime, no shootouts, none of that shit, two points is Toronto’s, nothing for the other guys. Excellent.
Jan. 15 (next night): Leafs win 4-3 in the shootout against the Buffalo Sabres. Why? Why? Why? Why must all games against this team wind up with both teams always getting points. It didn’t make any sense back in the regular season; it sure as hell doesn’t make any now that we are more than halfway through the season. The Sabres are not that good. They can’t be. They are the one team in the league that is currently trailing Toronto by more than 20 points. In the third period of this one with the Leafs up 3-2 Cody Hodgson scores a back-breaker on James Reimer (who clearly should have had it), Tyler Ennis, who has somehow made these Leafs pay everytime they play, got an assist on the goal, early in the frame, then they are heading into overtime, Leafs had better chances but couldn’t win it, sooo of to the shootout we go. For the first time that I can remember, all three Leaf shootout shooters (van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul, and Tyler Bozak all beat the goalie, Bozak’s was a little closer but made its way in. Most important of all, Leafs got the two points, despite some people believing that a SO win is still unacceptable against lowly Buffalo.
Fast forward 3 days, Jan 18 vs Montreal: Leafs pull off 5-3 victory. Leafs nab a 2-1 season series lead. One-one after one period, 3-2 after two periods, and another two-goal effort in the third sinks the Habs. Also well worthy of note, this was the first time I can ever recall a Leaf player being hauled down on an empty-net breakaway, missing the shot, and getting credit for a goal. Joffrey Lupul gets the honour of being the only Leaf getting credit to do such thing.
Jan. 20 (last night in Phoenix): Leafs win 4-2. Two cracks at the empty Phoenix net and nobody scored. That was about the only bad thing to happen. Who cares? Leafs win again, and…for the first time in the desert in nearly 10 years.
Jan. 21 (tonight in Colorado). on Thursday night they are in Dallas, and on the weekend it is back up north to Winnipeg.