I gotta admit, I wasn’t exactly buying it. All this talk about the Leafs making the playoffs this season, despite sending out essentially the same team that skunked its way to 29th in the NHL last year, save for the addition of a top-line winger that was a third liner on last year’s Stanley Cup champs. But here I stand, proven wrong after just two games. Toronto is 2-0-0-0-0-0-0 in 2010-11, and well on its way to the promised land.
The Leafs stayed unbeaten tonight, out-shooting Ottawa 38-18 en route to an easy 5-1 win at the ACC in the first of several matchups with their provincial rivals this season. Like Thursday’s win against Montreal, Toronto jumped out early with two goals in the first eight minutes, as Clarke McArthur fed Nikolai Kulemin 1:38 in and Phil Kessel scored off newcomer Kris Versteeg’s pass just over six minutes later. There was no looking back, either — McArthur scored his second in as many games in the second, Versteeg added a power play goal early in the third and Tim Brent scored an unassisted marker at 5:39 to make it 5-0. Kessel, Versteeg and McArthur each finished with a goal and an assist and Brent’s goal was already his second in two games, after only scoring once in 19 career games over the previous four seasons coming in.
The Senators came in following a 2-1 loss last night in Ottawa to the Sabres, and with questions concerning the status of Jason Spezza after he left practice with a groin injury Wednesday and missed the opener. Spezza did end up suiting up and scored Ottawa’s only goal, while also getting five of the Sens’ 18 shots on Jean-Sebastian Giguere, who started his second straight game in the Leafs’ net.
As mentioned, the Leafs remain undefeated with the win. Yes, undefeated. Not all that bad, considering they got started at 0-27-7-1 last season, or something like. They’ll look to keep the dream alive when they roll into Pittsburgh Wednesday to face the Penguins, who are off to a bit of a surprising start themselves with two losses.