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Leafs offensive explosion

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by Tony Care

This was the type of offensive explosion the Leafs expected when they made their many offseason moves. Toronto thoroughly dominated Anaheim en route to a 6-1 win at Air Canada Centre on Monday night.

The Ducks defence couldn't contain Toronto's top two lines. Alexander Mogilny, who has been the Leafs' best offensive player in the first three games, continues to make Leaf GM and Coach Pat Quinn look good for signing the Russian sniper to a four-year deal. Mogilny had two goals - including his 400th NHL goal - and added an assist.

Mogilny, Gary Roberts and Robert Reichel are the Leafs' second line in name only. They have clearly been Toronto's top line. Putting Roberts and Reichel on the same line made sense for Quinn as the two played together in Calgary.

But one of questions coming out of training camp was Mogilny's insertion to the line since he's never played with either Roberts or Reichel. If the first three games are any indications then this unit will be a scoring force for the entire year.

All three worked well together because of their diverse talents. Mogilny is a goal-scorer in the truest sense of the word. His wrist shot is lethal and his speed can leave most defencemen staring at his back. Reichel is a playmaker who can feed either Mogilny or Roberts with great passes. Roberts gives his linemates room to create plays with his rugged style.

"My job is to get those two guys the puck and we had some success tonight," said Roberts. "When you play with skilled guys like that it makes my job pretty easy. I get the puck, throw it behind the net and make sure I don't turn it over. I've been very fortunate throughout my career to play with good players. It's helped me become a better player."

While it's taken a little longer, Mikael Renberg and Mats Sundin are getting more comfortable with one another. Teamed with fellow Swede Jonas Hoglund, the line combined for four points on Monday night and their passing looks more fluid.

Renberg played his best game as a Leaf. He scored his first goal, but also was a force along the boards. Part of the reason the Leafs traded for Renberg was that he is very strong and is tough to knock off the puck. There's nothing flashy about Renberg as the team's second goal proved that point. Renberg outworked Ducks defeceman Pavel Trink behind the Anaheim net and fed Hoglund in front of the slot.

"I think our line is coming together," said Renberg. "It's great to play with a player like Mats. He talks to you all the time on the bench and on the ice. I'm just happy that they let me play with such a superstar. I think we have a good offensive team, but I also think our defence played really well tonight. It helps out a lot that they join the rush."

Granted the Leafs put up six goals against a porous Ducks defence but the offence will also get better as the season progresses.

"It was important to get this win out of the way and get to .500," said Mogilny. "Teams in our division keep winning and we have to make sure that we keep pace. When we play disciplined hockey we're a different team. If we stay away from bad penalties it's going to be difficult to play against us."

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