As the Maple Leafs continue to make life interesting in the race for eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, it is the elevated play of Dion Phaneuf that stands out.

Phaneuf was again the on-ice leader, scoring on two howitzer-like slapshots and assisting on the third in a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.

The Leafs probably have to run the table in their 11 remaining games — or win at least nine — but they find themselves four points behind eighth-place Buffalo and two back of the Canes thanks to a huge effort from their captain.