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The Good, The Bad, and the Return of Giguere

Sorry folks, the dream of the perfect season is over.  The Leafs lost their first game of the season tonight, 3-2 in overtime against the surprising Avalanche who won their fifth straight road game.  The game started out terribly for the Leafs who couldn’t make a pass, let alone get the puck out of their own zone for the first five minutes of the game.   The game was also brought to a snail’s pace by what seemed like, 900 icings by the Avs.

In J.S. Giguere’s return to Toronto he made 27 saves on 29 shots and was awarded the game’s second star.  Not a bad return for the former Leaf netminder.  He also gained the win thanks to David Jones’ overtime winner 1:43 into overtime.

The Good

  • Phil Kessel recorded his league leading sixth goal of the year.  His second period goal also extended a 14 game point streak he has dating back to the end of last year.  Kessel now has nine points this season and is definitely looking like the 40 or 50 goal scorer we are all hoping he is.
  • Another plus for the Leafs was the play of Nikolai Kulemin.  He seemed to have a real jump in his step tonight.  He was hitting, winning battles in the corners and was able to pot his first goal of the season late in the third period to help the Leafs gain a single point.  Kulemin is a quiet player but he certainly gets the job done.  He has the potential to put home 30+ goals this year.
  • Isn’t it nice to see Dion Phaneuf  shoot the puck?   He had seven shots on goal tonight.  Not bad, eh?  Phaneuf was rewarded with an assist on Kulemin’s goal after his soft shot from the point left a juicy rebound for the Leaf’s winger.  Dion now has four points in four games this year and he is starting to look like the guy we were all hoping he still was.

The Bad

  • Both of the Avs second period goals were softies that I’m sure James Reimer would like to have back.  The first was a wrister from Dan Winnik that sailed through Reimer’s fivehole.  Granted his defencemen were no great help on the play.  Komisarek and Franson both went after Ryan O’Reilly, but still it was a weak goal.  The second wasn’t much better as Milan Hejduk was able to squeak a snap shot between Reimer’s pad and arm.  The Leafs tender had a good view of the shot but just got into the butterfly a little too late.
  • The thing that made this game hardest to watch was the giveaways!  The Leafs had a total of 10 giveaways in the game versus only 3 by Colorado. Although none of the giveaways directly resulted in any goals against for the Leafs, they are momentum killers.
  • Finally, the powerplay.  Dear god someone fix the damn powerplay! The Leafs had a total of three shots on the PP in three opportunities.  The current incarnation of their powerplay is just simply not good enough.  They need to do some serious retooling if there is to be a return to playoff hockey in Toronto.

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