Leafs Northeast beasts?

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:44 PM ET

When you hear talk about divisional points, it sounds like noise when it comes from team that hasn’t made the playoffs in five years.

But a 2-0 start against Northeast opponents is one of the many significant positives the Maple Leafs can take from two big wins to start the season.

A year ago, for example, the Leafs didn’t defeat a divisional opponent until Dec. 1, or Game 26.

Now, just two games in after Saturday’s 5-1 win over Ottawa, everyone in the division has lost at least once.

And look who is in first place.

WHAT BATTLE OF ONTARIO

Remember how so many pre-season games looked like NHLers vs. AHLers? The ice was tilted that way last night in favour of the Leafs, who had outshot the Sens 31-12 after 40 minutes ... The Leafs have now won five in a row over their division rivals ... “I’ll take this game with a bit of a grain of salt,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said of the win, figuring he caught a tired Sens team that had played against Buffalo the night before. “They didn’t really have their legs.” ... Sens centre Jason Spezza was a game-time decision and he might have made the wrong one. On his first shift of the season, he lost the faceoff to Mikhail Grabovski then had the puck stripped behind the net leading to Nikolai Kulemin’s opening goal ... A lot of noise coming out of the Ottawa management suite up in the press box during that first period. None of it good ... Given the pummellings the Sens’ Matt Carkner has taken from Colton Orr the past two seasons (and again Saturday), might it be time for him to find a new dance partner? ... Even mild-mannered Kris Versteeg got in on the club’s truculence theme in a late-game scrap with Ottawa’s Mike Fisher. “When my head went in my jersey and I brought it out I was hoping it was still attached to my body,” said Versteeg, who earlier scored his first goal as a Leaf on a defelction of a Tomas Kaberle shot.

PHIL THE THRILL

How much does Phil Kessel like playing against the Sens? With a goal Saturday, he has now scored in eight consecutive game against the Sens ... With two goals this season, that gives him 32 in 72 games as a Leaf. Factored over 82 games that adds up to 36 and change ... If it weren’t for some huge saves by Sens goalie Pascal Leclaire, Kessel might have had a hat trick by the first intermission ... Update for Kessel trade-bashers: In his debut for the Bruins on Saturday in Prague, Tyler Seguin, the No. 2 overall pick was a minus-2.

TOUGH LOVE

Some coffee with your turnover? Nazem Kadri got a quick lesson into life as a pro on Saturday afternoon at the Ricoh. In his first game as a Marlie — a 4-2 loss to Rochester — Kadri was benched for a big chunk of the second period. “You can turn over pucks like that in junior and they put you back out on the ice,” Marlies coach Dallas Eakins said. “But you get two chances with me and then you sit. He decided he was going to turn the puck over and I decided I wasn’t going to watch it any more.”

OVERTIME

Hard-working centre Tim Brent scored his second of the season on a play that took some hustle and a long video review ... Kaberle’s handle has always been “puck-moving defenceman.” It’s early, but it looks like he’s more keen to fire it this season than in the past ... It took their ninth power play of the season and a five-on-three situation to do it, but the Leafs finally scored with the man advantage when a point blast by Kaberle bounced off Versteeg and in. If it weren’t for Leclaire, the power-play could have had a couple more, however, as puck movement — and especially possession — was strong.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/@longleysunsport

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