NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05: Tim Connolly #12 of the Toronto Maple Leafs scores a second period goal against Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on December 5, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Well, it wasn't perfect, but it's nice to see the Buds get back to their (recently discovered) winning ways.
Beating the New York Rangers 4-2 is always good news, since we'll probably joust with them in the standings for a playoff spot in the coming months, and it's good to hold an upper hand in the season series between the two teams. Think I'm being crazy thinking about April already? Just remember about how heart-wrenching it was to miss the playoffs by one point in back-to-back seasons. We need every edge we can get, starting yesterday.
Jonas Gustavsson played a strong game, posting a .938 on the evening (yes, we're counting individual games right now, be quiet), and making several fine saves in the final two minutes while the Leafs were defending a one-goal lead on the penalty kill. Your friend and mine Plea From A Cat Named Felix (a.k.a. Danny Gray at The Leafs Nation) feels this was Gustavsson's best game of the season. Agree or disagree?
In other news, two Leafs defenders that have had slow starts to the season continued their upward swing in
trade value play. Cody Franson scored a goal, and had a solid game, despite only clocking in at 13:29. Still no PK time for him, which is exactly how he was deployed in Nashville. The other defender I'm referring to is of course Luke Schenn, who notched an assist on David Steckel's empty-net goal to seal the deal. Schenn logged 20:51 of total ice time in this one.
Also encouraging is the continued success of the Leafs' top line, with the Lupul-Bozak-Kessel line combining for four points, Kessel having two assists, Bozak one, and Lupul a goal. Tim Connolly probably isn't crazy about how well Bert and Ernie are working together, but he's probably a lot more crazy about winning. Good to see Connolly pot one as well.