It was a vintage performance from Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf on Monday. With the Leafs trailing 2-0, Phaneuf whistled home his first goal as a Leaf at the ACC and got his team back in the game.
Phaneuf was a force physically as he led all skaters in hits with five, he played 26:01 and was a plus one. He had 10 shots towards the net (four on net, two missed and four blocked). With his goal, he now has five points in his last eight games and is a plus one in that stretch.
Nikolai Kulemin continues to go about his business in a quiet manner. He had another two-point game as the third year pro keeps adding to his already career high in goals (19) and points (39).
Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski were joined on a line by Phil Kessel in the second period. While Kessel was held pointless, Kulemin and Grabovski had two points each and they were all plus two. Kulemin has now recorded six points in his last four games.
If you like offence, then the Maple Leafs and Thrashers matchups are for you. In the three games so far this season, the teams have combined for 30 goals with the Leafs winning the last two.
The Leafs have scored the majority of their goals in the second as they have potted 10 of their 17 in the second period. Atlanta on the other hand has picked up most of its goals in the first period. Tomas Kaberle has eight assists in the three games against Atlanta this season.
Ron Wilson on why he put Kessel with Grabovski and Kulemin:
"I watched every goal he scored in Boston and he usually did it playing with two lefties, (Marc) Savard and Milan Lucic. So if there's two people on our team similar (it's Grabovski and Kulemin) and we give Phil a chance with lefties on the ice"
Tuesday, February 8 @ NY Islanders 7 PM ET (Sportsnet, AM640)
Game Notes: The Maple Leafs play the second game of a back-to-back when they travel to Long Island to face the Islanders who have won two of their last three games.
The Islanders won the only meeting so far this season back in October 2-1 in overtime when John Tavares scored on the power play.