Do Leafs have the key to playoff success?

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:04 PM ET

KEY TO SIX-CESS?

The Leafs hope that by breaking their 82-game regular season down into five-game increments, they can make a lot of short-term goals add up to their first playoff spot in five years.

"We try to get six points (from a possible 10) in the five-game segments," goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "We believe that if we do that, we'll be on a playoff pace. If you count the points based on that at the end of the year, you'll be well in."

The rough math on that takes it to 96 points after 80 games. Toronto had nine of a possible 10 in the first block of five, then one win in the next five.

"It doesn't matter what the other teams do around you," Giguere added. "It's how many points you get at the end that matters."

GET THE HOOK

One of the drills during Sunday's scrimmage was designed to shorten shifts for some ice-hogging Leafs, which assistant coach Tim Hunter says is contributing to the team's recent troubles.

"We had some guys take some long shifts (Saturday) night and (it's been like that) to this point in the season," Hunter warned. "We've had high averages during the game. We're just trying to send a message that after going hard for 35 or 40 seconds in practice, you don't have a lot left, especially if you're trying to score.

"So it's shorter, harder shifts and more intensity, and let the guys coming on after you have access to forechecking, not always back checking."

LITTLE BIG MEN

Hunter says there are plenty of examples around the NHL of smallish players who get their share of goals in the dirty areas, something the Leafs haven't done of late.

"You're not always going to get a pretty goal," Hunter said. "We've had a lot of rush chances this year because we're a fast team and a skilled team on our top two lines. But we have to learn to score those goals in a tight-checking game.

"Tomas Holmstrom in Detroit is not a big guy. But he finds ways to get to the front and screen the goalie. Dino Ciccarelli, he's going to the Hall of Fame shortly."

TRICK OR TREAT

Centre Tim Brent had a ghoulish looking cut above his right eye from an errant stick in Saturday's game. But he pointed out that Halloween was the day to be sporting such a scar.

"Just put some bolts in my neck and some green makeup and I'm set," Brent joked.

LOOSE LEAFS

Francois Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek remain the only Toronto defencemen to score after 10 games ... Though the Leafs rarely practice on a Sunday, this workout made sense with a day off projected after back-to-back midweek games ... Toronto's power play slipped to 24th in the NHL before Sunday night's games, at 5-for-42 ... Luke Schenn turns 21 on Tuesday.


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