Surging Maple Leafs are a loose lot

Not even Nikolai Kulemin -- the longest serving Maple Leaf -- was around the previous time the team...

Not even Nikolai Kulemin -- the longest serving Maple Leaf -- was around the previous time the team won six in a row. That was back in 2005 under Pat Quinn. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/AFP)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:37 AM ET

DALLAS - Jake Gardiner knew one fact about the last time the Maple Leafs won six in a row — neither he nor any of his current teammates were around for it.

“It was 2005?,” Gardiner repeated. “It’s something I’ve never been part of in this league and I don’t think many guys on this team have.”

Gardiner would have been a 14-year-old in Minnesota at the time. Blue-line partner Morgan Rielly was 10. With an average age of 27, third youngest in the NHL and with no one a Leaf longer than Nikolai Kulemin from 2008, this unexpected surge is a heady time for the team. That it came so soon after the biggest crisis of the season when a playoff spot and coach Randy Carlyle’s job were open for debate, makes the turnaround all the more startling.

The Leafs have beaten three teams ahead of them in the standings as part of the run, the Bruins in Boston, Montreal at an electric ACC and the Colorado Avalanche, one of the best at home in their high altitude fortress — on the second night of back-to-backs.


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