Stars As Easy As 1, 2,3
Tuesday, 02.2.2010 / 10:27 PM ET / Mike Ulmer's Blog
By Mike Ulmer - Mapleleafs.com commentator
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More signs that we are entering a parallel universe.
Tuesdayt, the Maple Leafs hosted the New Jersey Devils.
In running over the Devils 3-0, the Leafs triumphed thanks to superior goaltending and lionhearted defence.
“We kind of outdeviled the Devils,” tonight, said Leafs coach Ron Wilson.
Yes, yes they did.
It cannot be scripted better than this for the three players who came to the Leafs via trade.
Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 30 shots for the shutout. He was also named the game’s First Star.
“As a goalie you have to give your team a chance but he shouldn’t have to steal a game. Tonight, everybody contributed offensively and defensively.”
“Absolutely, I was nervous tonight. To be honest I didn’t feel very good out there. The last two days there have been so many people to talk to so I have the next couple of days to kind of settle down and get ready for the next game," Giguere said.
Dion Phaneuf threw Colin White around in a first-period fight, led the team with four shots, was second on the team in ice time (24:21) and tied for the team lead with six hits. More importantly, he constantly energized his teammates on the bench and even in the dressing room. He was the Second Star.
Wilson marveled at how in between periods he could hear Phaneuf from the coach’s office, two rooms and three doorways away.
“I want to be known as a guy who leads on the ice whether it’s on the ice or off,” Phaneuf said.
“It’s a great start. I’m just looking forward to keeping it going.”
Fredrik Sjostrom was on the ice for more than half of the Leafs’ two penalty kills. He had an assist and was named the game’s Third Star.
“I was very impressed with him,” Wilson said. “He’s a very fast skater and he did a lot of good things out there.”
The Devils held back goalie Martin Brodeur and instead used backup Yann Danis who was beaten by Phil Kessel, Francois Beauchemin and Nikolai Kulemin. The Leafs managed 26 shots on Denis.
The Leafs play New Jersey on Friday and, for a night at least, the disappointments of an 18-28-11 season has eased a bit.
“Are we going to win all of our next 23 games,” said Wilson. “Probably not. It’s one night, but it’s a good feeling for a change.”
Don't forget that you can join me for a LIVE Chat Wednesday at 3 p.m. right here on mapleleafs.com.