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Maple Leafs 3 v. Panthers 1: Eye For An Eye

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The Toronto Maple Leafs played a stifling defensive opponent in the Florida Panthers and came away with a 3-1 win. It wasn't pretty but it was two points against a team that has had their number recently in Toronto. The Panthers had won five of the last seven meetings at the ACC coming into tonight's game and most followed the same script. The Panthers would play high-energy, stifling defence and the Leafs would make enough mistakes to lose. Tonight there were a couple of big differences.

The first was that Jean-Sebastien Giguere was in net. So when the Maple Leafs' defence were 'creative' in their defending there was a calm and collected goaltender waiting to bail them out. In reality, the Leafs' did a good job of limiting the Panthers to half-chances in part because they blocked 27 shots. If not for Cory Stillman bumping Giguere's skate they likely would not have beat him tonight. There won't be too many people mentioning that

The obvious flashpoint was Colton Orr's game-winner. It was definitely goaltender interference and it was a hilariously bad call. Too bad so sad is what we're told whenever a bad call goes against the Leafs. Oh, and don't forget "Well, the final score was 3-1 anyway so it wouldn't have mattered!". Yeah, forgive me for not having more pity on the poor Florida Panthers especially considering their malodourous tally. Colton was not quite forthcoming about what happened:

"I was just throwing the puck out front and then trying to get to the net. I don't know, just kind of bumped around by a few guys. I didn't try and do any contact."

Then again he can't quite say that he bumped the net and then took a swan dive onto Scott Clemmensen.

The Leafs' win moves them to 5-2-1 for 11 points after eight games with 23 goals for and 19 against. One year ago, after eight games, the Maple Leafs were 0-7-1 for one point with 15 goals for and 35 goals against. One year ago on this date the Maple Leafs finally broke their goose egg with their first win of the season against the Anaheim Ducks. That, my friends, is progress. It is up to the club to continue with their new dedication to defensive hockey but always remember that this team is light years ahead of last year's. And that's with Colton Orr having more goals than Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, and Kris Versteeg. Above us only sky indeed.

Corsi and Fenwick EV Face-Offs | H2H Time On Ice

Game Summary | Event SummaryLitter Box Cats Recap

Ten Things That Will Bring A Smile To Your Face:

  1. Luke Schenn continues to make a mockery of last year's handwringing with almost 23 minutes of ice-time, three blocked shots, five hits, and one handsome face.
  2. Mikhail Grabovski won 77 percent of his face-offs. This is one area that he really needs to work on and it's good to see him find ways to contribute to wins other than scoring while he struggles offensively.
  3. Tyler Bozak, sorry, BOZAK scored his first of the year and won 64 percent of his face-offs. He potted the goal because he drove to the net looking for rebounds.
  4. Versteeg didn't score tonight but he did pick up five shots and looked more willing to drive the net. He apparently took Ron Wilson's words to heart.
  5. Phil Kessel scored his seventh goal of the season. In eight games.
  6. Dion Phaneuf and Francois Beauchemin were on the plus side of the Corsi ledger.
  7. Luke Schenn and Tomas Kaberle were on for more defensive zone face-offs than offensive zone face-offs and still had positive Corsi ratings. That's great news.
  8. Giguere is 4-1-1 with a 2.30 GAA and .908 Sv%. Is this what it is like to have a competent goaltender?
  9. Archimedies is spearheading the PPP Movember Team so join up if you can and donate if you can't!
    Life is good at the top of the Eastern Conference.