Sundin sputtering

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Mats Sundin has just one goal and two assists in the past six games and realizes there's another gear he has yet to touch.

"Good question," Sundin said initially when he was asked why his numbers have not been good lately. "I don't know. I think the first few games you play on adrenalin and then you have to find a way to make sure you do the same kind of job when it gets to be more of a grind."

Sundin returned from an eye injury on Nov. 5 and rattled off six points in three games, but since then has dried up. He needs two points for 1,100 in his career and is four back of Borje Salming for third on the Leafs career list, but does not overly care right now.

"It's tough to look at that kind of stuff in the bigger picture," Sundin said. "The only focus is who we are playing next and make sure we are getting back on track."

The Leafs begin a stretch tonight in North Carolina in which they play six games in nine nights and Sundin and coach Pat Quinn concurred it will serve as a barometer.

"This is going to be a real test," said Quinn, whose squad plays host to the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night. "Not only because of the rapid number of games and the lack of opportunity to recover physically, but also the discipline that's going to be necessary when you're tired because that is when mistakes start to happen."

Sundin said the six games represent a "critical period." The Leafs, who are not scheduled to practise again until Tuesday, play road games against the Florida Panthers on Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday and the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday before entertaining the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 3.


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