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Leafs go for third straight over Canadian opposition

by Dave Lozo
FLAMES (1-2-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (2-0-0)


Season Series:
First of two meetings. The Flames won both games last season. The Leafs' last victory against Calgary came on March 14, 2009.

Big Story: It's not as if this is the first time Dion Phaneuf has faced his former team since he was traded in 2010, but it's always a hot topic when these teams get together. In his two previous games against the Flames, he hasn't registered a point.

Team Scope:

After a couple of losses to start the season, the Flames spoiled the home opener for the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Rene Bourque scored twice and Miikka Kiprusoff made 35 saves to get the Flames back on track.

"I've been here a long time and played a lot of games, and it's about winning," Kiprusoff said. "But also, we really needed this game, 0-2 wasn't the start we wanted. But tonight we played much better as a team."

Maple Leafs:
For the second straight season, the Leafs are off to a solid start. They opened 4-0-1 a year ago and are 2-0-0 after beating the Habs and Sens to start this season. One of the big reasons for hope that this could be the season that sees the Leafs make the postseason for the first time since 2004.

"I like the well-rounded [group of] forwards we've got now," forward Clarke MacArthur said. "I think one of the big lines is going to be [the third line] when everyone's healthy. You've got so many guys now. You've got a lot of depth and it’s a positive thing."

Who's Hot:
In three games, Rene Bourque has 3 goals and Alex Tanguay has 4 assists for the Flames. … Phil Kessel is off to a hot start with 3 goals and 2 assists in two games for the Leafs.

Injury Report:
Calgary's Mikael Backlund (finger) is out six weeks while Brendan Morrison (knee) is getting closer to a return. … Toronto is without Tim Connolly (upper body) and Nazem Kadri (knee) says he's ready to return, but it'll be up to the coaches to decide if he plays.

Stat Pack:
The Flames have had just 10 power-play chances in three games, but they've scored three times. … The Leafs are one of six teams with a shorthanded goal this season.

Puck Drop:
"You need at least seven guys to be successful. Injuries happen, lineups can change and it's just part of being a good team. Guys go in, they go out, and they step up when they're needed. I know all seven of our guys are capable of doing that job." -- Phaneuf, after Toronto's seventh defenseman, Cody Franson, expressed displeasure about not being in the top-six.

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