Darryl Sittler, a 100-point scorer for Toronto last season, was worried about fitting in upon his return to the lineup following an injury.
"The team has been playing well without me and Red (coach Red Kelly) has been shifting around the lines," Sittler said Wednesday night. "I was kind of worried me coming back would unbalance things. But it only took a couple of shifts to get my timing back and to get back in coordination with Lanny (McDonald) and Errol (Thompson)."
Any self-doubts the 26-year-old center may have entertained were removed when he registered a pair of goals to power the Maple Leafs to a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Flames.
"I was glad to be back after missing seven games," said Sittler, who now has 20 goals, marking the fifth consecutive season he has reached that plateau. "With a tough schedule coming up, they'll need everybody. I feel good although my ribs are going to be sore for the next two or three weeks. I played with heavy tape and padding on the sore spot."
Inge Hammarstrom, Don Ashby and Ian Turnbull scored the other goals for Toronto, while rookie goalie Mike Palmateer stopped 35 Atlanta goals