Maple Leafs Travel to Pittsburgh For First Road Game of 2010-2011

The Toronto Maple Leafs will hit the road for the first time this season tonight, when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins to play at the all-new Consol Energy Centre.

The Maple Leafs, who lost all but one game against the Penguins last season, are off to a quick start this season with a 2-0-0 record, leading the Northeast Division. The last time they started the season 3-0, they won their division.

Jonas Gustavsson is expected to get the start, according to Paul Hendrick. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has been holding down the fort in the Maple Leafs net so far this season, has been more than impressive with a 2-0-0 record, a goals against average of 1.51 and a save percentage of .935. Unfortunately for Giguere, coach Ron Wilson plans on giving sophomore Jonas Gustavsson at least one start per week.

Gustavsson went 16-15-9 in 42 games last season, posting a goals against average of 2.87 and a save percentage of .902.

Although 82 goals are unlikely to happen, Phil Kessel, Clarke MacArthur and even Tim Brent are all scoring at an 82-goal pace with two goals in the first two games. All three will look to extended their goal scoring streak to three games.

Kris Versteeg, meanwhile, has been silently impressive this season, with two points (one goal, one assist) in two games and an even +/- rating.

As far as the opposition goes, the Penguins will be playing their fourth game of the season. Pittsburgh is 1-2-0 and owns the 19th best power play in a 30 team league. They have yet to win in three games in their new arena this season.

Pittsburgh’s seven goals have not been enough so far and they must begin producing soon if they want to avoid an early season slump.

The Penguins might have to play without Zybnek Michalek (arm) and Brooks Orpik (groin), while the Maple Leafs may have to do without veteran Brett Lebda due to a shoulder injury.

Tonight’s players to watch

Toronto – RW – Phil Kessel

Kessel has scored two goals and an assist in three games this season. Watch to see if he can continue scoring at such a high pace.

Pittsburgh – C – Sidney Crosby

Crosby has only one point, an assist, through three games. A former 50 goal man, look for Crosby to pick up his play tonight.

**Follow Buds In Blue on Twitter @BudsInBlue for frequent blog updates. You can also follow Lukas on Twitter @lukas_nhl for breaking hockey news and rumors, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs game updates. You can contact him at lukas@gacksports.com.

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Northeast Division Power Rankings: Week 2

Carey Price

There were plenty of surprises from Northeast Division teams in the first week of the season, none of them larger than the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are 2-0-0 to start the 2010-2011 season.

Here now are my week one Northeast Division power rankings:

1. Montreal Canadiens (1-1-0)

Last week: 4th

Although they do not lead the Northeast Division, the Canadiens played well in their season opening loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, followed by a comeback victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins thanks to a strong game from Mike Cammalleri. With Cammalleri back in the lineup and strong play from Carey Price, the Canadiens could have a big week.

2. Toronto Maple Leafs (2-0-0)

Last week: 5th

The Maple Leafs have had a great start to the 2010-2011 season, winning the first two games of the season. After playing poorly against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, the Leafs rebounded nicely with a great game against the Ottawa Senators. Jonas Gustavsson has yet to get his first start thanks to strong play from J-S Giguere (2-0-0, 1.51 GAA, .935 SV%). The question is, can the Leafs continue playing so well this week?

3. Boston Bruins (1-1-0)

Last week: 2nd

The Bruins played mediocre in week one, with a 1-1-0 record to go along with an even goal differential. After allowing four goals on 36 shots in the season opener, Tuukka Rask sat the second game. Tim Thomas, Rask’s replacement, stopped all 29 shots he faced. The Bruins are hoping that they can receive some strong goaltending from at least one of their goalies, not just this week, but all season.

4. Buffalo Sabres (1-2-0)

Last week: 1st

Ryan Miller (1-2-0, 3.39 GAA, .880 SV%) hasn’t exactly played as expected so far, but the Sabres’ season is still only three games old. With five points in three games (four goals, one assist), Derek Roy has been a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately for the Sabres, Jason Pominville won’t be back immediately, which is bad news for the team.

5. Ottawa Senators (0-2-1)

Last week: 3rd

It is hard to find a bright spot on the Senators roster after a winless start. Pascal LeClaire played well in the first game against Buffalo, allowing just two goals in a 2-1 loss. However, he has since allowed 8 goals on 64 shots. Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Niel are the team’s leading point producers after three games, each with two points. Daniel Alfredsson and company will need to pick up their play if they want to have a good season.

**Follow Lukas on Twitter @lukas_nhl for breaking hockey news and rumors, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs game updates. You can contact him at lukas@gacksports.com.