The Leafs have played through just over two-and-a-half weeks of the season and with a record of 6-3, they should be considered a success. While there has been turnover problems, the Leafs are still three games over .500 and that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Before last night, they had yet to lose a game on the road and if they can keep up that type of record for a long stretch, they should be a good bet for the playoffs.
Now the Leafs head into their fourth week of the season hoping to improve on their record. They have three games this week where they will face two more tests to their start.
Tuesday, October 22nd – vs. Anaheim Ducks
Anaheim has had just about as good a start as Toronto. They won six straight games for a record of 6-1-0 and face the Dallas Stars tonight. The Leafs will obviously need to shut down Anaheim’s big guns Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Friday, October 25th – @ Columbus Blue Jackets
This will be the first game between these two teams since Columbus moved to the Eastern Conference. It is very important that the Leafs come out of this game with a victory as both other games will be much harder to win.
The Leafs need to come out of the gates quickly and make defending Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky uncomfortable in net.
This will also be the regular season debut of David Clarkson.
Saturday, October 26th – vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Sid the Kid comes to Toronto for the first time this season. If the Leafs haven’t solved their turnover problems by this game then I fear the result. If they keep giving up the puck to Crosby and Evgeni Malkin all night, they will be in trouble from the opening faceoff. Pittsburgh is also not a team you want be vastly out-shot by.
Columbus is a game the Leafs should be able to win. Anaheim and Pittsburgh will be much more difficult opponents to face. If the Leafs want to come out of this week with more separation between wins and losses, they need to win at least one of those games.
We should have a more definitive view of what kind of team the Leafs will be after this week.