Sidney Crosby is off to the slowest start of his brief NHL career. That may not be good news for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Crosby looks to regain his scoring touch as the Pittsburgh Penguins face the Maple Leafs on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.
Pittsburgh's high-powered offense has yet to hit its stride in the first three games, totaling eight goals while converting 3 of 16 power-play opportunities.
Crosby, last season's NHL scoring leader and MVP, has been limited to two assists thus far. After he managed only three shots on goal in the first two games, the 20-year-old center was more active Wednesday in a 3-2 loss to visiting Montreal, registering six shots.
Crosby played Wednesday after he missed practice two days earlier with a bruised foot. He took a shot off the side of his right foot in the first period of a 5-4 win over Anaheim last Saturday.
Two points in the first three games of the season is notable because Crosby had a goal and four assists after his first three contests in his 2005-06 rookie season. He was much more productive at this point last year, collecting two goals and four assists in the first three games.
Crosby, however, is not the only member of the Penguins (1-2-0) that has started slowly. Second-year forward Jordan Staal has no points in three games despite playing mostly with either Crosby or Evgeni Malkin as his center.
Staal, who has recorded only three shots, scored 29 goals last year.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury also hasn't been particularly sharp, posting a 4.15 goals-against average. He is 3-0-1 with a 2.51 GAA in his last four starts against Toronto.
Two nights after absorbing an embarrassing 7-1 loss to Carolina, the Maple Leafs (2-2-1) rebounded with an 8-1 victory Thursday over the New York Islanders.
Captain Mats Sundin broke franchise records with his 390th goal and 917th point, surpassing Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler in both categories.
"Every team is going to lose at some part of the season, even the team winning the Stanley Cup," Sundin said. "It's how you respond after a loss like that, and I thought we responded well."
Matt Stajan added a goal and three assists for Toronto, which plays eight of its first 10 games at home.
Andrew Raycroft stopped 30 shots in his second start of the season. Although he has outplayed Vesa Toskala, coach Paul Maurice has refused to name a No. 1 goaltender.
Maurice has not revealed which of the two would start Saturday.
"I think you're going to make a good (decision) either way," he said.
Still looking for his first goal with the Maple Leafs is Jason Blake, signed to a five-year, $20 million deal in the offseason. Blake, who scored a career-high 40 goals last season for the New York Islanders, announced this week he is battling chronic myelogenous leukemia - a rare form of the disease.
Blake, who doesn't expect to miss any time, had four goals and four assists in eight games last season against Pittsburgh with the Islanders.
The Penguins went 3-0-1 against the Maple Leafs in 2006-07. Malkin had two goals and nine assists in those four games while Crosby had two goals and six assists.