|Ron Wilson used Monday’s practice at the MasterCard Centre to reunite forward Nikolai Kulemin with Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak, a trio that enjoyed some success in the second half of the 2009-'10 season. (QMI/REUTERS)
TORONTO - Kool and the Gang are back together again on the Maple Leafs first line.
In order to shake up the team’s moribund offence, coach Ron Wilson used Monday’s practice at the MasterCard Centre to reunite forward Nikolai Kulemin with Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak, a trio that enjoyed some success in the second half of the 2009-'10 season.
“(Koolie) works very hard in the corners,” Wilson said. “He’s very difficult to get off the puck. That should help Phil and (Bozak) a bit.”
The goal-starved Leafs have been offensively challenged the past three games, scoring just four times in that span, one that has featured two regulation losses and an overtime defeat.
Kessel (6), Clarke MacArthur (6) and Tim Brent (2) are the only Leafs to have registered more than one goal through seven games for the 4-2-1 Leafs, who host Bryan McCabe and the Florida Panthers Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre.
As part of Wilson’s shakeup, newcomer Kris Versteeg has been taken off the Bozak-Kessel unit and now joins a second line that features MacArthur and winger Mikhail Grabovski.
“I think (Versteeg) has had plenty of scoring chances,” coach Ron Wilson said. “Like many of our guys right now, I just think he’s trying to do too much.”
Despite leading all Leaf forwards in ice time per game (20:46), Versteeg is still searching for his first regular season goal in a Toronto jersey.
Wilson, meanwhile, confirmed that J-S Giguere will get the start in goal against the Panthers Tuesday.