An early look-in

Here are some observations from the opening weekend of the new season …

The Ottawa Senators are in trouble.

Fans in the Canadian capital can live with Friday night’s 2-1 loss to Buffalo in the season opener – first-night jitters, whatever you want to call it.

A rout at the hands of their most-hated rival on Saturday has to be considered inexcusable.

Forget for a moment that Toronto has had three straight last-place finishes and hasn’t been to the playoffs since Paul Martin - not this one! – was prime minister.

Ottawa didn’t get on the board until there were less than 13 minutes to play in Saturday’s 5-1 drubbing by the Maple Leafs. Perhaps the most glaring issue was the shot differential – 38-18 after being outshot 36-26 by the Sabres.

"A tough start is a tough start," general manager Bryan Murray told the Senators’ official website. "It's tough to catch up and you do have to win a lot of games. We have been a streaky team (in the past) and we certainly talked to a couple of players and the coach (Sunday) about that.”

And it’s not going to get any easier Monday when Ottawa faces Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

Images of Pascal Leclaire doing a jig and crashing into the wall like this guy in the dressing room between periods are coming to mind.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are working their way toward relevancy again.

Stop me if you heard this before.

An Original Six team hasn’t won a championship in generations. Fans are disgusted by last-place finishes and no playoff games.

Changes at the top combined with some savvy personnel moves result in the team ultimately winning the Stanley Cup again, ending a decades-long drought.

It’s worked for the Chicago Blackhawks. It may be working for the Maple Leafs.

Much like the combination of Stan Bowman and John McDonough have done in the Windy City, Brian Burke appears to be doing the same in Toronto.

The Maple Leafs have scored eight goals in weekend wins over Montreal and Ottawa to move atop the Northeast Division – rarefied air considering they’ve finished at the bottom of the division each of the last three years.

What I like about the Leafs so far is they don’t have one true superstar. Three players are tied for the team lead with two goals each, and seven players have multiple points.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere is looking more like the goalie that helped Anaheim win the Cup in 2007. Since then, his win total had decreased from 35 to 19 to 10 last season with the Ducks and Leafs.

“If you get decent goaltending, then often you solve a lot of problems,” coach Ron Wilson told Yahoo! Sports.

Toronto hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967, the longest current title-less streak by any NHL team. Odds are, the Cup will not be paraded there this spring, but it may not be much longer after that.

The Anaheim Ducks may be the worst team in the league.

I thought the Minnesota Wild would be the worst team of 2010-11, but Anaheim is staking an early claim to that title.

It’s one thing to be blanked on opening night by a Detroit team that seems to have all the pieces back together to make a championship run. It’s another also give up four goals to a Nashville club that has a whole lotta ‘meh.’

“It’s tough having to play from behind all the time, but it is only Game Two right now,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf told The Associated Press after Saturday’s loss to the Predators. “We’re a learning team right now, and we have to take things out of tonight and go forward with it.”

Getting some bodies in front of Jonas Hiller might help. The Swiss netminder has faced a league-high 92 shots so far – 15 more than Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen heading into play Sunday.

The loss of future Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Niedermayer to retirement has been a big blow, and Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu are another year older and closer to hanging it up.

Just two games, but two games could be telling.

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