For all the bemoaning about the Leafs recent two-game losing streak an examination of the top teams in the conference shows that Toronto has perhaps been the most consistent team thus far among the contenders.
Over the course of an 82-game schedule, every team is bound to have some dry spells. Some are early, like the Senators, while some occur later, such as the current drought for the Devils, who have not won since defeating Toronto on November 9, a stretch of seven games.
| Travis Green made amends for his struggles against the Islanders by scoring the first goal of the game. |
The players understand those type of skids are part of the game, but all work towards keeping them from piling up.
"Different nights call for different styles of games and you just have to find a way to get the win," said Shayne Corson, the game's second star. "You can lose four or five in a row and that can hurt your team and get you behind in the standings. You just have to focus on getting better and do the simple things and that's what we did tonight."
By doing those simple things the Leafs were able to emerge with a 2-0 victory over the Bruins. Now, past the quarter pole of the season, they have yet to go more than two games without a win. That ability to curtail losing streaks bodes well for a team with high aspirations.
"We all think the game is just mechanics, but the more important part is your own preparation," said Pat Quinn. "More players have trouble with the mental than the physical parts. It's a cliché, but it's true, that it's mental toughness and not riding the rollercoaster. You have a better chance of stopping a streak if you concentrate on the elements of the job. Every position has elements of responsibility and they have to look after that responsibility."
Of the eight teams currently in playoff position, three have gone five games without a win (NYI, Ott, Mon), two have gone winless in four (Bos, Car) and two have endured winless streaks of three (NYR, Phi). The only team who has been able to demonstrate an ability to bounce back quickly has been the aforementioned Maple Leafs.
That trend continued against the Bruins, a team that was breathing down their neck in the division standings. In a rapid game with few penalties, the Leafs were extremely opportunistic on goals by Travis Green and Jonas Hoglund.
When asked if his goal felt especially good after the previous night's struggles, Green proclaimed, "I'd be lying if I said it didn't. Obviously every team has a lull and you just try to keep those to a minimum."
His goal came on one of only five shots on goal in the first period for Toronto. The club was even more efficient in the second with Hoglund's marker coming on one of only three shots on Byron Dafoe. The Swedish winger didn't have to work too hard as Boston defenceman John Emmons made a great pass to a wide open Hoglund in the slot, a giveaway sure to make the highlight reels.
Through a combination of good play, good strategy and good fortune the Leafs were well deserving of their win over Boston to end their two-game losing streak.
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