FINALLY….DION HAS COME BACK TO CALGARY!
That’s right folks. In case you haven’t heard, tonight marks the first time Dion Phaneuf returns to the Saddledome since being traded for half of the 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs last January. The same holds true for Freddie Sjostrom and hopefully Keith Aulie. How great would it be if all three suited up for the game tonight and whooped up on their former teammates? Really great is the answer.
Let’s revisit that big trade shall we? The Leafs still have all three pieces they traded for: Phaneuf, Aulie, and Sjostrom. While the Flames only have Stajan and Hagman left. They lost Jamal Mayers to the Sharks in free agency and traded Ian White for Anton Babchuk for some reason. Hagman has reamined a steady 20G, 20A man for the Flames, but Stajan hasn’t panned out to be that 1st line center they hoped for. As many has said in the past, the trade was a clear win for Toronto. But enough about the trade, let’s talk about the game at hand.
Follow me after the jump for a look ahead at game 2 of West Coast Waffle Week.
Calgary and Toronto enters tonight’s game with only 1 point between them in the standings, though with Calgary having a game in hand and 1 fewer loser point. Needless to say, the season so far has been a big disappointment to both. Though with a weak Eastern Conference, Toronto sits in 12th and could move up to 10th with a win. Calgary, however, finds themselves 14th in the West and could fall to dead last with a loss and an Oilers win against Columbus.
Whereas Toronto has been scoring by committee as of late, Calgary is a two-man show with Jarome Iginla and Rene Bourque the only players consistently finding the twine. Shutting them down is job #1 for the Leafs so expect Phaneuf and Beauchemin to be on the ice for nearly all of Iggy’s shifts tonight, with Schenn and Kaberle getting assigned to Bourque. Expect to see Robyn Regehr out against the Kessel line, which due to Calgary’s short comings on defense, means the Grabovski line will have a lot more open ice than usually. Could be a big night for our #2 line.
In net, it looks to be J.S. Giguere getting the start tonight opposite of Miikka Kiprusoff who’s been pedetrian so far this year with a .909 sv% despite 3 shutouts and with competent defense in front of him to the tune of a 14th best 29.5 shots against per game.
Calgary plays a hard nosed, physical game based on good forechecking and play along the boards. Toronto’s defense needs to be equally tough tonight and willing to bang in the corners to counter this attack. With their big boys on defense, Calgary wants to be equally physical in their defensive zone and the smaller Leafs forwards are going to need to change their game plane from a dump and chase to a more controlling style based off the rush is they want to score. Something players like Kessel and MacArthur excel at. Hopefully the Leafs continue their win streak tonight with another solid performance on the road.
GO LEAFS GO!