What seperates the better teams from the rest of the NHL in this current era of parity is consistency. In an 82-game season with lots of travel, every team is going to come out flat. However, the better teams manage to have less frequent bad games or stretches of bad games.
A sign that the Maple Leafs are improving is that the number of bad games this season has dropped off and their longest losing streak has only been 3 games. Yet they have not had a long stretch of winning beyond the start of the season which is why they are fighting to hang on to a playoff spot instead of challenging for a top 4 berth. It seems when ever they begin to have some success, they take their foot off the pedal and stop doing the things that brought them wins.
Last season the Leafs did finish the season with a long run of winning hockey but their was no pressure on the team because they were so far back. A sign of how much this team has matured will be determined over the final 25 games. Can they find that consistency and win under pressure? There is a lot less optimism in Leafs Nation right now compared to a week ago.
CBS Sports - 12th (-1)
Mats Sundin night was supposed to be a celebration capped off with a big game in the playoff race against their oldest, most fierce rival, and instead the Maple Leafs made a mess.
TSN - 13th (-2)
Three straight losses, punctuated by Saturday night's 5-0 loss at home against Montreal, a game in which the Leafs outshot the Canadiens 32-18, once again raising goaltending concerns as Toronto embarks on a swing through Western Canada.
The Hockey News - 15th (-3)
Goaltending inconsistency really starting to hurt Leafs
Fox Sports - 16th (-4)
After they won five out of six, the up-and-down Leafs have been outscored 11-4 in three straight losses. Defenseman Jake Gardiner has had a fine rookie season but is scoreless and a minus-4 since his plus-three effort Feb. 6, which included a goal, in a v
Sports Illustrated - 18th (-6)
Just when you were ready to buy in, the Maple Leafs went and dropped three games in a row, including a thoroughly horrendous 5-0 home loss to Montreal. Goalie James Reimer has allowed eight goals on the last 54 shots he's facedESPN - 19th (-6)
The Leafs inexplicably lose three straight, capped by an embarrassing loss at home to rival Montreal on Mats Sundin night. Up next, road games in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.