The Toronto Maple Leafs are still unbeaten to start the 2011-2012 season thanks to Phil Kessel’s 3-point night. He scored 2 goals, including the game winner 41 seconds into the 3rd period, as Toronto came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Calgary Flames 3-2 last night.
Leafs fans may want to take a screenshot of the NHL stats board because 4 of the 8 categories feature Toronto. Sure, 3 of them (goals, points, and plus-minus) are Kessel, but Leafs goalie James Reimer also leads the league with 1 shutout. This isn’t something that Leafs Nation usually sees and it isn’t likely to last very long.
The Flames played a great first period, and jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but they couldn’t take advantage of other opportunities to put the Leafs away. The most notable miss was Rene Bourque’s fluff shot on a wide-open net with about a minute to go in the game. The Flames had a golden opportunity to tie the game late, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. As we’ve seen many times in the past, it’s tough to win a game when you only score 2 goals.
Having his own hot start this season is Curtis Glencross. Scoreface opened the scoring for the Flames 4:18 into the first period after taking a pass from former Leaf Lee Stempniak and firing a wrist shot past Reimer. Scott Hannan, who isn’t known for his laser beam-like shot, increased the Flames lead to 2 goals 1:22 later with a true goal-scorers goal from the top of the circle.
The Flames had their chances, but too often those chances lead to odd-man rushes in the other direction. Flames forward Alex Tanguay wasn’t happy with their effort. Here are his comments after the game.
“Tonight we let them hang in there and it’s our own fault. We feel we are giving up too many odd-man rushes and they are a team that likes to skate, they are extremely fast in their transition and tonight they took advantage three times and that was the difference in the game.”
“For us, we’ve got to get back in the groove of things; 1-3 is certainly not getting it done. It’s been a tough start, but we have a homestand and now we can make up for it.”
The Flames next game is at home on Tuesday when they fire up the Battle of Alberta for the first time this season. The Flames have a chance to jump over the Oilers and leave the Northwest Division basement with a win.