Ron Wilson knows his young team isn't likely to pull off the comeback kids act successfully all season, so the Maple Leafs coach had a tongue in cheek plan to get his troops off to a quicker start last night at the TD Banknorth Garden.
"I think I'll go over to Dunkin' Donuts and get a 10-cup box (of coffee) and place a few of them in the stalls of some of the guys," Wilson said jokingly of New England's answer to Tim Horton's. "Just to make sure they are ready."
Not that getting in an early hole has been a problem. In their past eight contests, the Leafs have erased a 2-0 deficit five times and in games in which they trailed 2-0 at any point, Toronto has posted a 3-0-2 mark. Tuesday against Carolina they twice trailed by three-goal margins yet stormed back to tie the game before losing 5-4 in overtime.
Wilson was expecting another physical battle from the Bruins, hence the decision to put hard-hitting defenceman Jonas Frogren back in the lineup and sit Anton Stralman.
"He's physical, that's why we want him in there," Wilson said. "When we do have to kill penalties, he's been our most effective guy because he likes to block shots. His physicality is kind of infectious."
Wilson said he had no hesitation going back to Vesa Toskala, who had a rough first period in Tuesday's 5-4 overtime loss to Carolina. Toskala was beaten on four of the first 14 shots he faced
"He doesn't let (a bad outing) bother him, that's what good goalies do," Wilson said. "They bury their last performance and work hard in practice.
"Every good goalie I've had -- and I've had a lot of good goalies -- that's their strength. They live in the moment."
LUCIC LIKES LEAFS
Bruins forward Milan Lucic says it's not difficult to see why the Leafs are grinding out their share of wins early in the season: It's hard work.
"If you look at the whole league right now, they're probably the hardest working team in the league," the bruising 20-year-old Vancouver native said. "They've made themselves a really hard team to play against.
"I'm sure a lot of teams used to go into games against them thinking it might be an easy night but they just keep plugging away."