In with the new and out with the old as the saying goes but with the Toronto Maple Leafs it is more like the same ol’, same ol’.
The Leafs’ week started off with a shootout win and then the week ended with again a shootout win while squashed into the middle was a good two-point win for our beloved Leafs.
Leafs over Sabres in Shootout 4-3
Phil Kessel having a goal and an assist in regulation time and Joffery Lupul scoring the only goal in the shoot-out thus giving the Leafs a win against the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre on a rare Friday night game.
Prior to this win the Leafs had played four consecutive shoot-outs, winning two.
Not everyone enjoys the shoot=outs just ask Coach randy Carlyle,
“It’s not easy winning in the NHL, it proves it night in and night out,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “There are a lot of shootouts taking place. We’re at four in a row now. …I think we’ve won two and lost two in the last four. Do we like shootouts? No”
While ending the first period down 2-0 to the Sabres the Maple Leafs came out firing and outshot the Sabres 17-5 in the second period to go up 3-2 after firing 3 unanswered goals. With 51 seconds to play in the third period and with Captain Dion Phaneuf in the penalty box for hooking, the Sabres tied it up. The 5 minute overtime proved no results and the Leafs took the win with Lupuls back-hander just inside the post to beat Miller.
Leafs win over Hurricanes 5-2
Kessel scored Toronto’s first two goals, with Bozak earning an assist on each, to reach the 20-goal mark for the sixth consecutive season. Nikolai Kulemin, Paul Ranger and Dion Phaneuf also scored for Toronto.
Comments from the Coach of the Leaf-Randy Carlyle-
“Specifically we haven’t played as well as we’d like to hang our hat on. Our group, we believe, has got lots of room to grow, so that always put added pressure on. And then you’re much more under the microscope if you can believe it. We’re under the microscope with you (media) guys alone, and then you add the element of HBO and then the event, there’s a lot of factors.
“Again, we’re here to win hockey games and that’s the most important thing and our focus is going to be on the game.”
Leafs win Winter Classic on Bozak’s Shoot-out Goal 3-2
“It was a home run for hockey,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock.
The images of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday were as intoxicating as the conditions were frigid. The temperature was 13 degrees Fahrenheit at the start of the game. The wind chill sent it below zero as the game progressed. The announced crowd of 105,491 teeth-chattering fans jammed into the 96 rows of bleacher seats at Michigan Stadium took it all in; their senses no doubt overwhelmed.
Comments from both teams were positive, even from the Wings players who now drop to fifth place and a couple of points behind the Leafs.
“It’s another game that we want to get points on the board, but it’s different because we’re going to remember this for the rest of our lives,” Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner said. “People will ask, ‘Did you ever play in an outdoor game?’ We can say, ‘Yeah.’ They’ll say, ‘Did you win?’ We can say, ‘Yes, we won 3-2 in a shootout.’ It’s great to be able to say that and just to be a part of this whole thing.”
“It was the best experience I probably ever had playing hockey,” said Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader, whose fifth goal of the season tied the game at 2-2 with 5:32 left in regulation. “It was awesome. It brings you back to your childhood days when you’re out on the pond or playing in the backyard. It was a lot of fun.”
That’s what the game is about and even better when your ‘Fav’ team wins it!
Leafs are up next against the New York Rangers on January 4 in Toronto.
Thanks to NHL.com for the input.