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Team Effort Propels Leafs

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Matt Iaboni

December 14, 2010
Rexall Place
Edmonton, AL
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The Maple Leafs held a 3-1 advantage after 40 minutes and were looking to close the door on any comeback thoughts for the Oilers.

Coming into the game, the Leafs had scored just five road power-play goals all season. Their second of the game, a saucer pass by Kristopher Versteeg to Phil Kessel put the Leafs up 4-1. The tons of Leafs' fans in attendance went home happy as they saw their team win their second straight game.

9 Fights this season for Colton Orr.
5 Points in his last five games for Phil Kessel.
6 Career wins for J.S. Giguere against the Oilers.
10 Leafs' to record at least one point against Edmonton.
3 Goals as a Leaf for Dion Phaneuf.
1st Star
Phil Kessel
G A P +/- Shots
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2nd Star
J.S. Giguere
24 23 1 59:58 .958
3rd Star
Taylor Hall
G A P +/- Shots
0 0 0 -1 8
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Versteeg has rounded into the player that the Leafs expected when they made the trade with Chicago last summer. The native of Lethbridge, Alberta had one of his best games with the Blue and White.

Playing on a line with John Mitchell and Nazem Kadri, the trio had numerous chances throughout the game. Versteeg's goal was his second in consecutive games and he set up Phil Kessel with a beauty pass. 'Steeger has now picked up five points in his last six games.

This was a total team effort but playing in his hometown, Dion Phaneuf scored his first goal of the season and that set the tone for the night.

Phaneuf didn't have as much ice-time (21:13) against Edmonton, as in his previous two games, but he was effective. He unleashed his big one-timer in the first period, he had a couple of hits while also blocking a few shots. After Taylor Hall scored two goals in the first meeting, Phaneuf and Francois Beauchemin held the young sniper in check.

Scoring first in hockey has always been something that a coach preaches to his team. That is exactly what the Leafs have done in their last two games and it has helped them pick up four points.

After the win over Edmonton, the Leafs' record when notching the first goal is 8-1-3. The team plays with a great deal of confidence when they are ahead and J.S. Giguere made some huge stops in the first period to keep the game tied. It's a simple game plan for the Leafs: Score first.

Ron Wilson on Phil Kessel's determined backchecking against Edmonton and overall play recently:

"Yeah, he had two great backchecks. He almost killed himself on one. But nonetheless the last couple of games some of the messages that we've been giving him are sinking in so it's good."

Thursday, December 16 @ Calgary 
  9:30 PM ET (Leafs TV, AM640)

Game Notes:
The road trip continues for the Leafs as Dion Phaneuf makes his much anticipated return to the Red Mile as he takes on his former team.

This is the first meeting this season between the two teams. The Leafs haven't won in Calgary since December 2002. They face each other in Toronto on January 15th.

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