Matt Iaboni October 15, 2010
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY
After a dominating second period that saw them take a 3-1 lead, the Leafs coughed it up in the third and were on the verge of dropping their first game of the 2010-11 season.
Dangerous all game, Phil Kessel took a Tyler Bozak pass on the power play and whistled the wrist shot past a screened Henrik Lundqvist in OT. It was his second goal of the game and it rescued the Leafs who had stopped skating in the third period.
Player in Leafs history to score in first four games as Leaf done by Clarke MacArthur.
Head coach Ron Wilson wasn't happy with the play of his top line against Pittsburgh but he got a much better effort Friday.
Kessel was dynamite all game. He had several chances and his speed was too much for the Rangers to handle. His first goal of the game saw him outskate Marc Staal to tap in a great feed from Tyler Bozak. The winner was another thing of beauty as he curled in the face-off circle and scored on his patented wrist shot.
His sophomore season was a struggle but being paired with Tomas Kaberle in the early going has done wonders for Luke Schenn.
After a big summer, Schenn has been the most physical Leafs' defenceman. He has 16 hits on the season; he has recorded assists in back-to-back games and against the Rangers he had a season high 24:06 of ice-time. His confidence is evident as he handles the puck with more authority and has been out in all situations.
Although the Leafs are 4-and-0 for the first time since going 10-and-0 in 1993, the power play continues to be an issue.
Kessel's winner was on the power play but the Leafs had a chance to ice it late on a 5-on-3 but managed just one shot. They have had great control but they don't have anyone in front of the net and that makes it way too easy for the netminder to see the puck. It is something that you can be sure the coaches will work on in practices.
Ron Wilson when asked how satisfying the perfect start is for his team:
"Well that's a question that my granddaughter would ask. You know, we're 4-and-0 for God's sakes, of course it's very satisfying. We're happy that we've gotten off to this start especially in our division to get a little bit of a pad that's going to be a long year and this is money in the bank for us when we hit hard times."
Monday October 18 vs. Islanders
7 PM ET (Leafs TV, AM640)
The Maple Leafs return home to take on the other New York team. The Islanders lost to the Penguins on Friday and they host Colorado Saturday at home.
This will be the first of four meetings between the two teams.