The Toronto Maple Leafs are a mess of late. As much as the Leafs have become a mess, it seems like this was always destined to happen. Whether you ascribe to the advanced analytics or something as simple as the oft-predictable “regressing to the mean” it always seemed likely that Toronto would suffer the fate they have come to know in the last few months of the season.

After a dismal performance in a 6-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night, the Leafs have followed a three-game, hope-building winning streak, which concluded with the shootout win at the Winter Classic, with a crushing three-game skid in which Toronto has allowed 18 goals while scoring only five. Toronto is now fifth in the Atlantic Division and sitting outside of a playoff spot.

It's not like the gentlemen in blue and white were dealing with world beaters in this most recent rough patch. Those last three losses came against the New York Rangers, Islanders and now the Canes, all teams that are struggling in a bad Eastern Conference.

But it's far worse than the recent three-game losing streak. As James Mirtle of the Globe & Mail, noted in a scathing column, Thursday night was the Leafs' 22nd game without a regulation win in their last 24 outings. That's dreadful.

The latest Leafs skid is hardly a blip on the radar, rather it's part of a growing tailspin that seems to be getting harder to pull out of.

Toronto looked listless Thursday, falling behind 3-1 in in the first period and only managing six shots in the second, barely feigning a comeback attempt.