Toronto Maple Leafs; Burke's Team First In The NHL?
Here is a scenario that few people would have predicted during this past off season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are (tied for) first in the NHL!
During last nights contest in Pittsburgh at the new Consol Energy Center, the Leafs had traded leads with the Pens before Clarke MacArthur potted the eventual game winner at 10:30 of the second period of a great back handed centering pass by Mikhail Grabovski.
While the Penguins remain win less in their new home, the Maple Leafs are enjoying a much better October than they did last year and haven't gotten off to a 3-0 start since winning their division in 1999-2000.
Rumblings through out the media today are centered towards the lack of production from the teams top line of Kessel, Bozak and Versteeg, though there is really no cause for alarm.
The season only being three games old and a more balanced attack in regards to offensive out put will go a long way to reducing the pressure that was expected to be place squarely on Kessel during the off season.
Jonas Gustavsson looked 'tight' to start the game last night but relaxed as it wore on and made a few spectacular saves to keep the Leafs ahead, especially in the third period.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are tied for first in the league with the Washington Capitals, which after only three games isn't really a relevant statement however, the fact that the Leafs despite only managing 14 shots on goal last night appear to be getting better as the season wears on.
This young Leafs team may be a surprise to a lot of people, given the struggles they went through last season. Dion Phaneuf is not one of them and is put off by the medias general insistence to constantly try and make comparisons to last year.
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``Everyone keeps bringing up last year,'' Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. ``Well, it doesn't really matter right now. We're focused on this group and this year.''
Mike Brown may still be the most under rated Leaf this year, but his speed an creativity won't have him go un-noticed for long.
Ron Wilson was asked about Mikhail Grabovsi's resurgence and said that his team mates had jokingly said that his new found speed could be attributed to his new, more aerodynamic hair style. Wilson added the fact that Grabo had actually skated during this previous off season had a lot to do with it. He didn't skate at all during the previous off season and it definitely showed.
The 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs set a record for consecutive wins to start the season with ten and while no one has put this team in the same type of mold as the team that set that record, this years version has already shown signs that it may have a surprisingly good season in store for it's fans.