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.
Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.
Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.
The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.