Well, it looks like the Leafs are lucking out in the injury department this year. Yes we've taken a few lumps with Giguere on the IR, and Phaneuf, Brown, Armstrong, etc. missing time, but really has that derailed the Leafs season all that badly at this point? I don't think any of us would be shocked to see another Leaf go down with an injury in the next little while - these things do happen - but realistically the Leafs are currently fairly healthy.
All of that being said, take a look around at their conference rivals and you might notice some important players taking a spot on the IR recently.Buffalo's leading scorer and top Centre, Derek Roy, gone for the season when he suffered a quadriceps tear. Tim Connolly has been missing time after surgery to repair a broken nose.
NY Rangers sniper Marian Gaborik missed a game last week because of his oft-recurring groin issues.
NJ Devils sniper Zach Parise is staying off skates until March and is likely gone for the rest of the season.
Then if you look at the schedules of the teams the Leafs are chasing down in the division you might notice that Boston and Montreal both have ridiculous travel schedules around the holidays. Boston had back to back games in Florida against the Panthers and Lightning on Monday and Tuesday, and then play in Atlanta on Thursday and Buffalo on January 1st. Montreal hasn't played at home since Dec. 16th, and their long road trip continued with a game against the Islanders on Boxing Day, then road games in Washington, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta over the next 4 days, before heading home to play Atlanta on January 2nd.
Montreal already lost the first one to the Isles 4-1, and they've got 4 more to go in that stretch. Boston's rough patch starts tonight.
By way of comparison, Toronto plays Carolina tomorrow night at home, and then faces Columbus on Thursday at home, and then heads reallllly far away to Ottawa for a Saturday night road game, before coming back home to face the Bruins on Monday the 3rd.
For all of those aforementioned reasons, it might be interesting to see where the standings are in a week or so, because some of those teams ahead of us in the standings may have dropped a tad. It'll be interesting to see how things shake out.