Leafs’ shutout streak nears historic low

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:15 PM ET

TORONTO - The most recent Toronto team to get shut out in three games in a row is very quiet on the subject of this season’s club getting blanked back-to-back.

That’s because there’s a gap of nearly 84 years since the record for such goal futility was set. The 3-0, 2-0 and 2-0 losses in December of 1926 by the St. Patricks (the team’s pre-Leafs nickname) included games against two teams that are distant memories — the Montreal Maroons and New York Americans. The three zeroes were part of an overall goalless slump of 215 minutes, 48 seconds that still stands.

It has been seven years since a Leafs team went two games without scoring, with Phil Kessel’s late third-period marker against Florida the only one before goaltenders Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins and Henrik Lund­qvist of the New York Rangers slammed the door.

But Kris Versteeg, channeling some of his experience with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, sees no reason for fretting with the Ottawa Senators due here on Tuesday.

“Everyone will go through a drought like this,” Versteeg said. “I remember after the long Olympic break last year, we had a pretty big struggle. This one is at the start of the year, but you really try and work these kinks out and do your thing.

“We have to go out there and do it and not keep talking about it. We’re looking forward to the next game, going out there as a five-man unit and scoring some goals.”

Captain Dion Phaneuf, mired in his own slump yet trying to keep team spirits up, says the optimism that was there in four early wins has not been seriously affected by losing five of the past six.

“We’re not down at all,” he said. “We’re not happy, but games are not easy in this league.”


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