Dave Nonis stood in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs and ran through the unwelcome consequences that were coming if the team continued on its losing ways.

This was only a couple weeks ago and the atmosphere in the dressing room couldn’t have been any different than it is right now. Tensions were extremely high following a couple embarrassing losses and, according to one confidant, coach Randy Carlyle even feared that his job might be in danger. A few of his players had good reason to wonder if they might be shipped out of town, too.

The team had seemingly hit rock bottom.

Few, if any, would have predicted what was to come next.

The most unusual of Leafs seasons reached a new high point on Saturday night with a come-from-behind 6-3 victory over Ottawa. It was Toronto’s ninth win in 11 games – a hot stretch that is made even more impressive by all of the losing that came before it.

“That’s an 82-game season for you,” veteran winger Joffrey Lupul explained after an emotional evening at Air Canada Centre. “There’s days when your body is not feeling 100 percent, where your confidence is down as a group. It can be frustrating.

“That’s where, especially veteran guys, have to step in and not let things go from bad to worse.”

What is noteworthy about this particularly turnaround is the fact that Nonis felt the need to step in as well. That is not an everyday occurrence around NHL teams. The GM declined to discuss the meeting when approached by Sportsnet earlier this week and none of the Leaf players was willing to speak about it on the record.

However, one point that came across in multiple private conversations is that Nonis’s message was received loud and clear. It was obviously an eye-opener for those in the room.

On the ice and in public view, the lowest moment of this Leafs season came with a 6-1 loss in Carolina on Jan. 9. That dropped the team out of playoff position in the Eastern Conference for the first time all season and marked the 22nd time in 24 games where it failed to register a regulation victory.

At that point, the Leafs had also lost three straight games by a combined score of 18-5 immediately following the Winter Classic.

“We had a bit of a tough stretch there,” said centre Nazem Kadri. “Everyone was kind of skeptical about where this team was going, but we understood that it was all about the response. When you have games like that, there’s not much you can do – it’s not like you can play (them) over again.

“You’ve just got to look forward and that’s what we’ve tried to do. We’ve been lucky enough to string a few wins together to help our confidence.”

By all accounts, the mood started to change after a 3-2 loss in Washington just 24 hours after the debacle in Carolina. The Leafs put in a much better effort against the Caps – seeing two goals go in off the skates of their own players – and returned home feeling somewhat optimistic despite the string of setbacks.