After a brutal start to the '07-'08 season, Jason Blake may finally be turning the corner.
Blake scored a goal and notched two assists against the Tampa Bay Lightning early in the week, then notched two goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 6-2 loss on Thursday night.
Blake's performance was the only bright spot in a miserable game for the Leafs.
More than his production, it's Blake's all-around effort that has me encouraged. He's driving hard to the net—all three of his goals in the last two games have come from either just beside the crease or directly in front of the goal.
Blake is also back-checking very well, which is something the Leafs need with defensemen like Andy Wozniewski on the blue line. The scoring is important, but Blake can bring a spark with his grittiness—even as such a small guy.
You don't see Kyle Wellwood digging in the corner for pucks like Blake does. Things like that inspire the team—and that's what the Leafs need right now.
With half the season in the books, the Leafs seem to be on cruise control, as if they're waiting for the last three weeks of the season to make a playoff run, like they did last year.
But if Blake turns his game around and starts putting the puck in the net, the Eastern Conference had better beware.
With Blake getting hot and Vesa Toskala returning from a groin injury, I can see the Leafs making a charge.