From the Milton Sports Guy:
Blackhawks 3 Leafs 2
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what you need to do when playing on the road in Chicago.
Weather the storm.
Easier said than done for this year’s edition of your Toronto Maple Leafs who did exactly what they’ve done in all but two games so far this year — fall behind early.
This time, by two goals early to a young, fast, rough-and-tumble Blackhawk squad and it looked like the rout was on.
After that however, the Leafs rebounded with a solid effort, eventually losing by a goal, 3-2.
Vesa Toskala, who couldn’t be faulted for any of the goals, provided solid netminding and Phil Kessel (doing his best Brett Hull impression), was dangerous — scoring on two long, blistering wrist shots.
However, it was too little, too late for God’s Team as we turn it over to Damien Cox of the Toronto Star:
Two superb individual efforts almost helped the Maple Leafs catch one of the NHL’s top teams napping.
But what Vesa Toskala and Phil Kessel were able to achieve – Toskala played his finest game of the season, Kessel scored two more goals to continue to impress – wasn’t enough to help the Leafs successfully come back from three goals down to beat the powerful Chicago Blackhawks on home ice Friday night.
The 3-2 final was probably indicative of the overall measure of the game, but there are few teams in the NHL that can consistently spot opponents three-goal leads and turn defeat into victory. Maybe none.
The Leafs couldn’t do it Tuesday at home against the Minnesota Wild, and they couldn’t do it against Chicago.
“Too little, too late,” said winger Lee Stempniak. “We need that desperation from the start.”
The much-maligned Toskala stepped up beautifully to meet the challenge being mounted by rookie Jonas Gustavsson, making 31 saves. He was beaten in the first after struggling Luke Schenn coughed up the puck in the Leaf slot, and then twice on deflections, but he was strong throughout and made a dazzling save on shifty Patrick Kane with less than three minutes left to at least allow Ron Wilson to pull him for an extra attacker in the dying seconds.
The Milton Sports Guy is a long-suffering Leaf fan and a regular contributor to MiltonSearch.com.
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