Posted by: Jeremy | October 8, 2010

You’re all winners!


Tim Brent scored early and the Leafs never looked back

Start etching that Stanley Cup right now (and make sure to spell Kris Versteeg’s name right) — the Toronto Maple Leafs are winners. Of their first game, at least. The Leafs got first period goals from Tim Brent and Phil Kessel and Jean-Sebastian Giguere made a couple big saves in the final minute to preserve a 3-2 lead, allowing Toronto to escape with a win in its season opener at Air Canada Centre last night.

Giguere, who coach Ron Wilson announced the other day is in line to start 50 games with Jonas Gustavsson his understudy, made 26 saves and outplayed Montreal’s Carey Price, who gave up three goals on 24 shots to start what figures to be another scrutinized season, for him at least. Brent’s goal on Price in the first came on a deflection off a Kessel shot under seven minutes in, and Kessel followed with a breakaway goal to make it 2-0 just over two minutes later. After a Dustin Boyd goal cut the lead, Clarke McArthur scored his first goal as a Leaf early in the third to add some padding.

Kessel’s performance was one of the most encouraging for Toronto — he managed to get five shots on net, including the one that beat Price in the first, and finished with two points to get rolling after a s0-so 55-point first season (in just 70 games, mind you) with the Leafs. Dion Phaneuf assisted on Brent’s goal in his first game as captain and finished a plus-one in 24 minutes.

The win is a fine start, and likely does its part to bump expectations that were already too high in the first place for Leafs fans. Wilson echoed my opening sentiments after the game: “I’m sure they’ve already planned the Stanley Cup parade”. Oh, they have, so don’t get too comfortable with that trophy, Patrick Kane — Leafs fans will fight you for it (and it’s even worth more than 20 cents).

With this one wrapped up, Toronto is home again to face the Senators Saturday in the first of 27 regular season matchups with their provincial rivals. The Sens, by the way, are home to face the Sabres in their season opener tonight.

 

 

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