Onlookers bicker endlessly about whether the Toronto Maple Leafs are a legitimate playoff team or not, but there seems to be at least two things people should agree upon: they’re rarely boring or predictable. Maybe it’s fitting that equally up-and-down Dallas Stars ended Toronto’s winning streak by an emphatic 7-1 margin on Thursday, then.
The Stars came into the second period with a 2-1 lead, which is when things really unraveled for Toronto. The Stars bumped their lead from 2-1 to 6-1 with four goals in about nine minutes, makng it a miserable night for Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer.
Valeri Nichushkin also got the last laugh considering that pair of collisions with Sergei Gonchar, as the Russian Olympian scored two goals and one assist. Jamie Benn was the true standout, however, as he collected four points (one goal, three assists).
The one bit of bad news for Dallas is that Cody Eakin suffered an upper-body injury during the contest, although Stars Inside Edge’s Mark Stepneski reports that Lindy Ruff believes the forward is OK.
The Maple Leafs have been about as streaky as you can get in the last couple months. Just soak in their highs and lows since Nov. 25:
Nov. 25 – Dec. 3: Five straight losses
Dec. 5 – 14: Two wins, three losses and then one win.
Dec. 16 – 23: Losses in four of five.
Dec. 27 – Jan.1: Three straight victories.
Jan. 4 – 10: Four losses in a row
Jan. 12 – 21: Six wins in a row
And then they lost today.
At this point, the only thing we can safely know is their record: 27-21-5 for 59 points in 53 games played, which keeps them in the thick of the playoff hunt, whether they’re genuine contenders or just lucky.