Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not ready to hop on the Maple Leafs bandwagon

I'm really pleased about the great start by the Maple Leafs but I've seen it before. So I haven't totally bought into the program. An 82-game season is a great equalizer for a slow or fast start.

Last season the Leafs began the season 4-0 with wins over the Canadiens (3-2), Senators (5-1), Penguins (4-3) and Rangers (4-3 OT). Phil Kessel was among the league leaders with 4 goals and 2 assists. Clarke MacArthur has 5 goals. Then the Leafs took another 16 games to win another 4 games. MacArthur was only able to score another 16 goals over 78 games.

So early wins again against the Canadiens, Senators and Flames aren't getting me worked up. Kessel has been flying in the early going and leads the league with 5 goals and 3 assists (tied with John Tavares). His first goal last night was a beauty (see below). Joffrey Lupul has worked well with Kessel and has scored 2 goals and 3 assists in the first 3 games of the season. James Reimer has been keeping the Leafs in games much as J-S Giguere did in the early part of last season. The team is 11th in penalty killing percentage and 20th in powerplay percentage. Both are improvements over last season.

Two of these wins have been against teams that might not make the playoffs. The Leafs have not had a road game yet. So there is time to hop on the bandwagon.

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