TORONTO – Joffrey Lupul has never been this consistent.
Lupul and linemate Phil Kessel are the only two players amongst the top-20 in league scoring who have not gone back-to-back games without a point this season, an emphatic reminder of his breakout campaign in Toronto.
"I didn't know the exact numbers," Lupul said, prior to Thursday's 3-2 win over Buffalo, "but it seems like we've been on the scoresheet more nights than most. For me personally, that's something in my career that I've kind of been striving to get to. I've always had these streaks where I'd get like nine or ten points in five or six games and then have nothing for three or four games. Again, I'm just trying to stay confident. And after having success through the first 30 or 35 games, whatever we're at now, it definitely helps you."
The Leafs are winless in the seven games Lupul has been held pointless (0-4-3), a revealing sign of his value to the club this season.
In perhaps the best shape of his career – following a series of back problems – the 29-year-old is on pace to completely smash his previous career-highs of 28 goals and 53 points, digits he established in his second NHL season with Anaheim (2005-2006). Through the opening 34 games, Lupul already finds himself with 15 goals and 37 points, tied for seventh best in the NHL.
"I can't say exactly what's going to happen with the point scoring or anything," he explained, "but I know I'm going to continue to do the same things I've been doing all year and if the points keep coming great, if they slow down a bit I'm going to keep doing things right; keep playing physical and going to the net and doing those things."
Lupul has already posted point streaks of six and seven games. He began the season with 11 points in a strong October (11 games), added 19 in an even better November (14 games) and has seven thus far in December (nine games). He notched his team-leading 22nd assist on Kessel's 20th goal of the season on Thursday night.
"I don't feel that feeling that maybe there's a little lull coming," he concluded. "There probably will be at some point; there's going to be a time where you don't score, but as long as you stay confident and keep doing the other things right I think you can get through it."