Leafs knock off Avalanche to win sixth in a row

Leafs centre Jay McClement (11) is congratulated for an empty net goal by defenceman Carl...

Leafs centre Jay McClement (11) is congratulated for an empty net goal by defenceman Carl Gunnarsson (36) in the third period against the Avalanche in Denver on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:13 AM ET

DENVER - From six feet under, depending on how one viewed their condition earlier this month, the Maple Leafs have won six straight.

And while some of those victories came down to Jonathan Bernier’s goaltending, the rest of the team has now caught the wave. In an exclamation point to their longest run since Christmas of 2005, the Leafs blocked the surging Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Tuesday, back-to-back wins in the West with Bernier watching James Reimer for a change.

The six wins included some giant killers, Boston, Montreal and now the second hottest team in the league since New Year’s Eve.

At some point, the team meetings had to stop and the Leafs had to get more meat back in their game. Coach Randy Carlyle was asked if the four-game losing streak, with shameful scores was the last straw as far as putting coach and players on the same page.

“Enough talking about it, it’s time for action,” Carlyle said the night before in Phoenix. “That speaks louder than words.

“The response you look for is that we feel this group can continue to grow and play to a higher level. We have to continue to grow this group to challenge to be a playoff team. That was the statement we made before and we’ll continue to do it. We believe they’ve got more and they believe they have more.”


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