Thursday, December 16, 2010
The Toronto Maple Leafs began a three game Western Canadian road trip in Edmonton last night. However, judging by the crowd reaction, it might has well have been a home game. The crowd was pro Leafs, and it was fun to hear the dueling fan chants of Let's Go Oiler's against Go Leafs Go. Leaf fans seemed louder, and at times drowned out the Edmonton faithful. The commentator even remarked that Edmonton might need to score, just to quiet down the crowd. That crowd support clearly motivated the Maple Leafs. as they played one of their most complete games, on their way to a 4 - 1 win.
The captain got the team started with a power play blast from the point. It's fitting that Phaneuf scored his first goal of the year, in his birth place. Edmonton tied the game rather quickly, but after that it was all Leafs. Mikhail Grabovski finished off a lovely give and go with Clarke MacArthur for the second goal. Versteeg tipped a Luke Schenn shot, and got a lucky bounce on the third goal . Phil Kessel finished the scoring on a power play after some creative passing by Bozak and Versteeg. That goal was a pretty one. That goal was the Eva Mendez of Leaf goals this season.
All of the Leafs western Canadian players picked up a point in this game, which is a measure of justice for Leaf Nation, as all Ontario born players seem to have the game of their lives when playing at the ACC. J.S. Giguere made two point blank breakaway saves on Taylor Hall, but otherwise the team was solid in front of him, limiting his work load. The Leafs will look to make Phaneuf's homecoming to Calgary a positive one, when they play the Flames on the next stop of this road trip.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
It's been exactly one month since my last blog. Why is that, you may wonder? It's quite simple really, the Maple Leafs had an abysmal month of November, that left me at a loss for words. Well I could have written about the Leafs struggles that month, but my ramblings would have been redundant. Most of the blog would have featured Italian curse words, followed by a description of how we either lost, by being badly outscored, or because we blew the lead late in the game, only to suffer a loss in overtime. That was November in a nutshell. The only Leaf positives to come out of last month for me were, meeting Luke Schenn and Phil Kessel, and having my almost 3 year winless streak snapped thanks to a 4 - 1 win over the Dallas Stars. That was a relief to be sure.
December has seen the Blue & White play six games thus far, playing .500 hockey. The three losses have been ugly to be sure. Edmonton, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh all had their way with the Leafs, who looked as though they were sleep walking through those games. The three wins saw Toronto display an effort and determination that appeared at season's outset. The wins came against Boston, Washington, and those morons from Montreal. If the Leafs play the way they have proven they are capable of, I think 2 wins in this 3 game swing is possible.We're sitting 10 points back of 8th place in the Eastern Conference. It looks daunting, but the task is not impossible. All it takes is another win streak like the one at the beginning of the season, and consistent efforts game in and game out. Am I being optimistic? Maybe....but isn't that the point of the holiday season? Optimism for better things coming our way. The Toronto Maple Leafs will look for retribution tonight as they take on the Oilers in Edmonton.