Leafs looking to up their pressure game

Maple Leafs defenceman Paul Ranger takes Bruins left wing Brad Marchand into the boards on Saturday...

Maple Leafs defenceman Paul Ranger takes Bruins left wing Brad Marchand into the boards on Saturday night at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Lance Hornby, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:37 AM ET

TORONTO - The nightly barrage of 30-plus shots against the Maple Leafs has not harmed their standing.

But a continued lack of offence definitely will.

Two regulation goals in the past three games, and just three at even-strength stretching back four games, represents the team’s second worst output since Randy Carlyle replaced Ron Wilson in March of 2012.

The weak numbers are nothing to cause Carlyle insomnia at present, as long as signs point to improvement. But that’s the concern, given the ongoing absence of two key centres.

Throw in some penalty kill breakdowns, a run of stingy goaltending from foes and a looming schedule crunch and you can see why Carlyle was too cautious to celebrate his team’s 6-1 start.

After Saturday’s close-but-no-cigar loss to playoff nemesis Boston, the Leafs now enjoy their last three-day break before the Christmas holiday.


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