Another day, another loss.
The Toronto Maple Leafs dropped their eighth straight game on Saturday night, losing 5-3 to the Vancouver Canucks. The game was defenceman Keith Aulie’s first of his career, and the second of Nazem Kadri’s after the two were called up from the Toronto Marlies to give the team a spark.
The move seemed to work at first, as the Maple Leafs quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Fredrick Sjostrom and Phil Kessel. They held that lead for two minutes before Daniel Sedin scored on the power play and Ryan Kesler followed up with his eighth of the season.
Each team scored a goal in the second frame, as Kesler netted his second and Mikhail Grabovski picked up his third of the season with a beauty over the shoulder of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo.
Mason Raymond’s fourth of the season came 13:36 into the third, giving the Canucks a 4-3 lead on shot in which Maple Leafs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere should have been able to save. Dan Hamhuis iced the victory with an empty netter from the opposite end of the ice.
Kadri and Aulie both looking impressive, more so the latter. Kadri, as expected, made some mistakes passing the puck, but never looked bad enough to send him back to the American Hockey League after the game.
Aulie, meanwhile, looked very strong against the Canucks’ attackers, including the Sedin twins. He also proved why so many believe he is one of the best skating defensive prospects in hockey.
However, even with the additions of Kadri and Aulie, the Maple Leafs were not able to pull off a victory, although the game was relatively even.
So, with that and the Maple Leafs’ eight game losing streak being put into consideration, is it time to make a trade?
Last season, the Maple Leafs lost to the Canucks on January 30th. The morning after, general manager Brian Burke traded Vesa Toskala, Jamal Mayers, Ian White, Jason Blake, Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan, and acquired Dion Phaneuf, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and others.
From that day, January 31st, 2010, on, the Maple Leafs were the seventh best team in the Eastern Conference.
Nevertheless, the Maple Leafs cannot begin making trades out of desperation. Grabovski and Kessel looked very impressive tonight, each scoring a goal, while Grabovski also had an assists and an even plus/minus rating.
Kadri, who also had an even plus/minus rating, will also build on what was a good first game with Nikolai Kulemin and Tyler Bozak. The three should be able to gain more confidence and chemistry skating together over the next week or so.
With the exception of the fourth goal, Giguere had a good game, making 27 saves. In 11 games this season, Giguere owns a goals against average of 2.62 and a save percentage of .899. Sophomore Jonas Gustavsson has been having another inconsistent but good season, meaning the Maple Leafs are set in goal.
With that being said, all the Maple Leafs need to do is build on a good game against a team that is one of, if not the hottest in the NHL right now.
Notes and stats:
Shots on goal were dead even at 32…announced attendance was 19,534…Kesler, Luongo, Grabovski named three stars…Kesler, Raymond, Edler, Samuelsson, D Sedin, H Sedin, Beauchemin, Grabovski all had two point nights…Giguere made 27 saves, Luong made 29 saves.
The Maple Leafs’ next game is on Tuesday when the host the Nashville Predators.
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