Toronto Maple Leafs Vs.New Jersey Devils@A.C.C.(Tues.,Dec.8th,2015)
It’s the 28th game of the season but the Toronto Maple Leafs built on a strong showing in St. Louis with a 3-2 shootout win over the visiting Devils on Tuesday night. Toronto fell behind early in this one. The Devils scored on a deflected point shot shortly thereafter. The goal came from ex-Leaf Lee Stempniak who was dealt from St.Louis for star forward Alex Steen six years ago. Stempniak has established himself as a across many clubs in steady player and has various roles over the years. In fact, the Devils are running somewhat parallel to the Leafs with respect to new bench bosses . It remains doubtful that both team will make the playoffs this season. Yet, with the core players on both squads are largely intact from last year. Toronto came back at the Devils with dominance outshooting New Jersey 16-7 in the process. The go-ahead goal came off some smart puck movement with the man advantage. Phaneuf received the puck from Bozak on the point and saw the open man in front of the net in van Riemsdyk. JVR tipped the low shot home as he continues to prove that he is one of the most skilled net-front presences in the NHL. Unfortunately, the lead did not last as a Palmieri powerplay blast tied it back up later that period. This resulted in a third frame where neither team played a exciting or creative game. The Leafs came on strong near the end of the period with a number of chances, but nevertheless the game headed to overtime. Three-on-three overtime was on. The game would require Toronto’s league-high seventh shootout to settle the score. To put that in perspective, there are four teams in the NHL that have been in zero shootouts this season. It would take five shooters and some innovative moves by Nazem Kadri, but the Leafs ended up with the win.
Rookie goalie Garret Sparks had another excellent showing in his fourth NHL game. He’s now 3-1 record and a sparkling . He could not be faulted on either of the goals scored and made a number of athletic stops throughout the night. Furthermore, he made an incredible save in the shootout that had Mike Babcock doing his best to hide a smile of pleasure on the bench. Babcock has already made it clear that Sparks will return to the Marlies after Bernier finishes up next weekend in the AHL. Some excellent rookies in the farm system and we all can’t wait for the World Junior Championship during the festive season. The Leafs have some great prospects and we’ll keep our eyes peeled on the t.v. for the future of this franchise.