Unbeaten and not yet jaded by success, the Toronto Maple Leafs prepare for Game 2 of their season in the form of a home tilt Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.
The Leafs are coming off a rousing 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, a game punctuated by lightning quick scoring, a surging defensive pair and great work from goalie J.S. Giguere.Phil Kessel
on a partial breakaway, Tim Brent on a deflection and Clarke MacArthur
on a dandy spinaround move scored for the Leafs, but it took last-second saves from Giguere on Habs captain Brian Gionta to set things right.
The good news? The Leafs penalty kill kept the Habs off the board. The pairing of Luke Schenn
and Tomas Kaberle was the Leafs best and did we mention Giguere?
The Leaf goalie said he will not take the last five seconds of the Montreal game against Ottawa. He will, instead take the entire body of work.
“I think the whole game has a meaning. You have to play the 59 minutes before you get to the last minute. I mean, yes, it’s nice I made a nice save at the end, but this was not what the game was all about. There was lots of good stuff that I want to take away with me.”
Not the least of it was the solid play of Schenn and Kaberle. The pair rang up 21:36 and 23:55 in ice time and finished the night even in plus/minus.
“He’s playing better,” said Leafs coach Ron Wilson said of Schenn. “It’s a simple as that. He is seeing the ice, identifying open people and defending really well.
“Luke gets Kaba the puck quickly and we want Kaba to be part of the attack. Last year, Luke had more points five-on-five than Kaba did. Kaba has the green light to jump into the offence five on five and on the power play.”
Playing in his first regular season game since last January, Mike Komisarek
had an up and down night and played just 12 minutes, fewer than any other Leafs defenceman. He operated with Carl Gunnarsson
“It was good,” said Komisarek. “The pace was good. We did a lot of positive things but we have to work on better execution. There were a couple of plays where we could execute with better communication but we will be all right.”
Another positive: the Leafs blocked shot total of 22, including four by Komisarek.
“Anytime your guys get committed to blocking shots it’s going to be huge,” Wilson said. “That’s a nice number, 22. That’s as many as I have had here, I think.”Briefs:
Giguere will start in goal against Ottawa. Colby Armstrong
took a shot off the skate Thursday night. He did not skate on Friday but will play. Wilson was blunt when asked why he did not stay with the combination of Kaberle and Komisarek he planned to use in the pre-season. “Plans change. When you are playing games and pairs are minus five or six against American League players it’s not working.”