Lack of back-to-back success hurts Leafs

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

The Leafs have five back-to-back series remaining and better think about sweeping them all.

After last night's eighth unsuccessful crack at winning consecutive games, a 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils, the best the Leafs have done was Nov. 9-10, a win in Buffalo and a shootout loss to the Rangers.

Toronto's next chance comes later this week in a home-and-home with the Washington Capitals. They also play the Philadelphia Flyers in a 48-hour span in March that's sure to be a physical series.

MOORE POWER TO YOU

After five games with Dominic Moore in the lineup, the Leafs are 3-2, with both losses by a goal.

The Thornhill native has contributed zero points, with a close call video review on Saturday against the Sabres, but it's the energy he's brought to linemates Boyd Devereaux and Chad Kilger that has distinguished him.

"I think the three of us play a mature game," said Moore. "We're older players and I think we've managed some late-game situations well."

Moore, who bounced around the Penguins, Rangers and Wild organizations before the Leafs claimed him on waivers during their disastrous California road trip, was a scorer in college and the minors, but has been used mostly as a checker in 191 NHL games. His speed and doggedness mirror Devereaux's, and while the big Kilger is still struggling to score, he creates some room with his hitting.

"I knew things weren't going well here, but you try to add some positive energy," Moore said.

Moore, who grew up idolizing Doug Gilmour, was presented with a brand new Leaf hat when he linked up with the team in San Jose and is rarely seen without it.

"Playing for the blue and white is something I take a lot of pride in," he said.

BLAKE'S BIG NIGHT

Jason Blake couldn't have asked for anything better on Saturday than to score the clinching goal on a night set aside to raise awareness for leukemia.

Blake, through his wife Sara, collected donations and gave out souvenirs, while the Leafs gave more than $400 from profits off Blake sweaters sold that night to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

Blake is donating $1,000 a goal and $500 an assist to the cause this month and is near $8,000 for January. He was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a form of blood cancer, in October.

"It's been a privilege to play in the NHL and I can't thank the organization enough for what they did to help me set this up," Blake said Saturday.

LOOSE LEAFS

The Buffalo win marked just the third time this season the Leafs have scored at least two powerplay goals and had a perfect night killing penalties.

Coupled with beating Boston, it was also the first consecutive wins against Northeast Division teams in more than a year.


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