General manager Brian Burke helped build a Stanley Cup-winning team in just his second season with the Anaheim Ducks, but it's looking like success will be harder to find in Toronto.
His former club is suddenly having some problems, too.
The woeful Maple Leafs will take another shot at their first victory Monday when the team makes its first visit to Anaheim since Burke took over almost a year ago, while the Ducks will hope to use the opportunity to snap a three-game losing streak of their own.
Burke was hired by Anaheim after the NHL lockout, and the club -- after missing the playoffs the previous season -- reached the Western Conference finals in his first season before winning its only Stanley Cup in 2007.
The Maple Leafs envisioned a similar turnaround when they hired Burke last November, but a bleak situation has gotten even worse for one of Canada's proudest franchises.
After missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season last spring, Toronto (0-7-1) is off to its worst start in franchise history, having lost seven straight in regulation since a season-opening overtime loss to Montreal.
In a matchup with another of Burke's former teams, the Leafs lost 3-1 at Vancouver on Saturday to open a five-game road trip. While coach Ron Wilson said he felt his team had more scoring chances than the Canucks, it was still the sixth straight game the NHL's only winless club was held to two or fewer goals.
"The desperation is there," defenseman Mike Komisarek said. "We sensed it was within reach tonight and it was right there. If we have a consistent effort like that and continuing on this road trip we're definitely get a couple of wins."
Toronto would have a better chance of winning if it could tighten up its penalty kill, which allowed two more goals in Vancouver. Leafs opponents are 13 for 35 (37.1 percent) on the power play, the worst in the league by a wide margin.
That could help the Ducks, who were held without a power play goal in five straight games before going 2 for 2 on Saturday against Columbus.
But Anaheim (3-5-1) had bigger problems on defense in the 6-4 loss to the Blue Jackets. The Ducks squandered an early lead and fell to 1-4-0 at home while losing for the third straight time on this homestand.
"You see the frustration on the players' faces when they come to the bench. The frustrating thing is that they're not being rewarded for the hard work they put in," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "When you're going through stretches like we're going through right now, it seems like when something has a chance to go wrong, it goes wrong. But you have to persevere."
Little has been going right in net for Anaheim, as Jonas Hiller has a 4.26 goals-against average in losing his last two starts. He'll likely be in the crease Monday, however, after Jean-Sebastien Giguere was removed from Saturday's game late in the third period with a nagging groin problem.
Toronto's goaltending issues are far greater. With starter Vesa Toskala sporting a 5.57 GAA while on injured reserve and newcomer Jonas Gustavsson also hurt, Joey MacDonald is 0-3-0 with a 3.35 GAA in his three starts.
The Leafs haven't won in Anaheim since March 11, 1998, but they've only visited twice since then, getting outscored by a combined 10-1 in two defeats.