The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t just starting fights this year — they’re finishing them.
The Leafs currently have the most fights in the NHL at 24, slightly ahead of the Blue Jackets who have 23. Five of the Leafs’ donnybrooks, however, came from the fists of Mike Brown, who was traded to the Oilers earlier this week. Still, with 19 fights, the Leafs are tied with the Flyers for the Conference lead.
They aren’t just fighting for the sake of fighting, too. Toronto can actually leap past the Bruins in the standings with a win on Thursday night, as Toronto is currently tied with the Penguins for the most wins in the East with 15.
Leading Toronto’s pugilistic charge is Frazer McLaren and Colton Orr, who have six fights apiece already this season. McLaren stole some headlines on Wednesday night when he bought Ottawa’s David Dziurzynski a one-way trip to Dreamland. Alongside Orr and McLaren is Mark Fraser, who has dropped the mitts five times already. He’s tangled with the likes of Brandon Prust and Lane MacDermid, whom he fought twice in one night. The 26-year-old Fraser had a jump on hockey’s regular tough guys as he dropped the gloves eight times in the AHL during NHL’s lockout.
When the Bruins face the Leafs on Thursday night at TD Garden, look for one of these three guys to spark some life into Toronto’s bench. Shawn Thornton had a nice scrap with Orr a season ago when the two exchanged some heavy blows. Now that Thornton got his first fight from his concussion out of the way, look for these two to schedule a rematch.