Series (Game 1 of 2)

Vancouver leads 2-0

Game 1: Saturday, October 24th
Maple Leafs1Final
Game 2: Saturday, January 30th
Maple Leafs3

Maple Leafs 1

(0-7-1, 1 pts)

Canucks 3

(5-5-0, 10 pts)

Coverage: CBC

7:00 PM ET, October 24, 2009

Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

1 2 3 T
TOR 0 1 01
VAN 2 0 13

R. Luongo (Canucks - G): Saves: 35, Save Pct.: .972

M. Raymond (Canucks - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

J. MacDonald (Maple Leafs - G): Saves: 22, Save Pct.: .917

Maple Leafs-Canucks Preview


The Toronto Maple Leafs have had plenty of time to dissect exactly what's gone wrong during their dreadful start to the season.

For the first time in a week, they have a chance to do something about it.

Another loss Saturday will guarantee the Maple Leafs the worst start in the franchise's lengthy history, and they'll look to avoid that miserable mark when they kick off a five-game road trip against the Vancouver Canucks.

General manager Brian Burke's first full offseason to tinker with Toronto's roster had fans optimistic the Original Six franchise could end its four-season playoff drought this spring.

But Burke's biggest acquisition, former Boston forward Phil Kessel, still hasn't played as he works his way back from shoulder surgery, and the Maple Leafs (0-6-1) are the NHL's lone remaining team without a win.

Toronto matched the worst start in franchise history -- the 1990-91 team began 0-6 with a tie -- by losing 4-1 to the New York Rangers last Saturday, and it can rewrite the record books with a loss to Vancouver (4-5-0).

"We've hit rock bottom," forward Lee Stempniak said. "There's no lower to go."

Perhaps leaving Toronto, where the Maple Leafs have been soundly booed, will help. Then again, they've given up 13 goals in two road games.

"We've got to go out and win a hockey game," said center Matt Stajan, who along with Alexei Ponikarovsky has a team-high three goals. "We're focused and we know it's a big road trip for us. We want to come back home feeling good about ourselves."

Coach Ron Wilson benched Stajan on Oct. 13 against Colorado to send a message, and it appears he may do the same to Luke Schenn -- the fifth overall selection in the 2008 entry draft -- on Saturday.

The Maple Leafs' biggest problem has been their inability to kill penalties. They're allowing teams to score with the man advantage 39.3 percent of the time, by far the worst in the league.

Toronto is hopeful that the return of young goaltender Jonas Gustavsson will help. The rookie hasn't played since Oct. 6 due to a groin injury, and though Wilson says he has his "fingers crossed" that Gustavsson can go Saturday, it appears likely Joey MacDonald -- 1-0-0 with a 0.93 goals-against average against Vancouver -- will start.

With Roberto Luongo, the Canucks have a far more stable situation in goal, though the four-time All-Star hasn't been great this season. But after starting 2-4-0 with a 3.88 GAA, Luongo is 2-1-0 with a 1.68 GAA in his past three games.

Luongo made 18 stops Wednesday in Chicago, and Mikael Samuelsson's team-high fifth goal -- which came with less than five minutes remaining in the third period -- gave the Canucks a 3-2 win over the team that knocked them out of last season's playoffs.

Luongo allowed seven goals in the Blackhawks' decisive Game 6 victory that put them in the Western Conference finals.

"Obviously, nothing's going to bring back what happened last year. They still won the series; we just won a game," Luongo said. "But it's nice to be able to come in here and show we can win and just start moving on."

Luongo is 4-2-0 with a 1.82 GAA in his last six starts against Toronto, notching a pair of victories last season.

The Canucks have won all four meetings with the Maple Leafs since the 2004-05 lockout.