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Sundin on Leafs' early adversity: 'It's a lot of pressure to play here'

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Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin understands what it's like to be in the spotlight when times get tough in one of the NHL's most demanding markets.

"It's a lot of pressure to play here. It's extra attention for management, for players," Sundin said Sunday, according to the Canadian Press.

"You're gonna have ups and downs over a season, and ... sometimes the patience is a lot better in a market like Tampa or (if) you play for the (Florida) Panthers, (rather) than the Maple Leafs or the (Montreal) Canadiens," he said, according to CBC Sports.

Toronto entered the campaign with high expectations after adding several talented pieces to an already star-studded roster this offseason.

However, the Leafs have authored a 9-9-4 record through 22 contests and have just two regulation wins in their previous 15 outings. A 6-1 thrashing at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday pushed the club's current losing streak to five games.

Despite Toronto's early struggles, Sundin believes the Leafs have the talent to turn their fortunes around.

"You have (a young team) in Toronto right now (that) are building, to me, one of the best young teams in the National Hockey League," Sundin said.

"If you have character guys ... you'll find a way," he added, according to the Canadian Press.

Sundin captained the Leafs from 1997-2008 and holds the franchise record for both goals (420) and points (987).

Sundin on Leafs' early adversity: 'It's a lot of pressure to play here'
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