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The Leafs are back to doing that thing where they get outshot and win

Jan 22, 2014, 12:08 PM EDT

Toronto Maple Leafs v Colorado Avalanche Getty Images

Maybe Tim Leiweke was right and October wasn’t a fluke?

We’re not ready to concede that quite yet, but the Toronto Maple Leafs’ current six-game winning streak sure bears a striking resemblance to their winning ways in the opening month of the regular season.

Consider: in October, the Leafs went 10-4-0 and were outshot by a combined 505 to 371. In their last six games, all wins, they’ve been outshot by a combined 220-179.

How have they done it lately? Pretty much the same way they did before. Solid goaltending, an excellent power play, and an opportunistic offense (led by Phil Kessel, who’s scored five times on his last 17 shots).

“With Phil, if he continues to get chances, he’s got a history behind him and he knows how to score goals,” Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said after last night’s 5-2 victory in Colorado.

Of course, the question today, as it was in October, is a matter of sustainability. The Leafs’ possession numbers still rank among the lowest in the NHL, with only the Buffalo Sabres below them. No, possession isn’t everything — the Colorado Avalanche rank pretty low, too — but when you consider the top four teams in Fenwick (5 on 5, score close) are Los Angeles, Chicago, San Jose, and Boston, it’s pretty hard to ignore.

Toronto takes on the Stars in Dallas tomorrow.

  1. elvispocomo - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    As their offence goes, so do the Leafs. Any kind of slump from high end production and they end up losing games considering the shots they give up, and the playoffs won’t be any easier for them to produce – assuming they make it there.

    • sunderlanding - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      You could say that about almost any team.

      • elvispocomo - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        Almost any team isn’t dominated the way the Leafs are in possession stats like shots. I’d much rather have a team that doesn’t always score but controls the puck well versus a team that relies on breakdowns and power plays to score and their goalies to constantly keep the puck out of the net.

        It’s tough to win going chance for chance as it is, never mind allowing the other team more chances than you get yourself.

      • sunderlanding - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        I’d much rather have a team that wins.

      • elvispocomo - Jan 22, 2014 at 6:38 PM

        So you agree with me then, considering the Leafs’ record on wins the past decade.

      • sunderlanding - Jan 23, 2014 at 5:32 AM

        That’s right, because it always makes sense to base each season off of the past decade.

  2. mrpinkca - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    The Leafs have a 1030 PDO. That’s not a sustainable.

    The Leafs won’t make the playoffs.

    • sunderlanding - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      The only stat that matters is wins.

      • elvispocomo - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        Tell that to Minnesota, who has an identical record to the Leafs currently, yet sit in 8th in the West while the Leafs are 5th in the East.

      • sunderlanding - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        My statement still stands. They have less wins than the teams in front of them. All that matters is the wins.

      • pfhockey - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        This is to elvispocorno. Minnesota is playing in a scorching hot Western conference while the leafs aren’t. The Leafs allowed 30 more goals than Minnesota does this season in the same number of games. That being said the Leafs go as there offense go, essentially meaning that they must rely on a strong goaltending performance night in and night out. 3 goals against is ridiculous and basically means they have little to no hope to survive in the playoffs.

      • elvispocomo - Jan 22, 2014 at 6:37 PM

        @pfhockey: I agree and think that further reinforces my point with the differences in conference play this year.

  3. elrock7 - Jan 22, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    Leafs are 12-7 vs. Western conf. this year.

    Its not how many shots you give up, its the quality of the scoring chances. Leafs are fine.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1795)
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  3. P. Datsyuk (1175)
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  5. M. Giordano (1034)