Dion Phaneuf Fights Ilya Kovalchuk, Helps Lead Maple Leafs To Victory

December 26th, 2010 No Comments

Heading into tonight’s exciting tilt between the 28th ranked Toronto Maple Leafs and the 30th ranked New Jersey Devils, nobody expected any fireworks.

The Devils and Maple Leafs had lost a combined 39 games and own two of the most pathetic offenses in the game.

Needless to say, this game had “total bore” written all over it, and it was, that is until Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf and Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk dropped the gloves.

To be honest, it wasn’t much of a tilt, but in a season that has already seen Sidney Crosby and other super-star calibre players drop the gloves, it was interesting to see Kovalchuk trying to drop bombs.

The Maple Leafs were up by a score of 1-0 at the time. In the end the fight did little to change the outcome of the game, as the Maple Leafs chased Martin Brodeur from the cage before closing out a 4-1 victory over the Devils in front of 5329 New Jersey fans—many of whom braved a huge snowstorm to be in attendance tonight.

While the low attendance was alarming, so too was the play of the Devils team, who are now 0-2 since Jacques Lemaire took over as head coach.

Maple Leafs free agent signee Colby Armstrong had his best game as a member of the Maple Leafs, scoring twice and earning second star honors. Kris Versteeg also had a solid game, notching two assists on the night, earning first star honors in the game.

While a 4-1 victory sounds great, we must remember that the Maple Leafs picked up the win against a team that had gone an embarrassing 1-9 in their past ten games, a team that has now lost five straight, owns the worst record in the NHL and is looking like a team in need of a major shakeup, never mind the coaching change.

Maple Leafs netminder, Jonas Gustavsson stopped 29 shots on the night, earning himself third star honors and perhaps another start tomorrow night when the Maple Leafs will take on the Carolina Hurricanes at Home.

The Leafs are now 5-5 in their past ten games, which, while nothing to brag about, is a step in the right direction.

A total of four points separates the Maple Leafs from the Hurricanes, who have 34 points on the season, good enough for 22nd overall.

Carolina has struggled defensively, but their offense has managed to get them out of trouble on more occasions than not.

Led by Eric Stall and rookie forward Jeff Skinner, Carolina sits six points out of a playoff spot, currently held by the Boston Bruins who have 40 points on the season.

If the Maple Leafs can pull out a victory against the Hurricanes it would go a long way in rejuvenating the Leafs Nation, who, last time they watched their team play, threw waffles and called for head coach Ron Wilson to be fired…again!

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