NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 2nd
(All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (35-17-2) at Toronto Maple Leafs (17-28-11), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Dion Phaneuf are expected to
make their Maple Leafs debut tonight as Toronto welcomes the first-place New
Jersey Devils to Air Canada Centre for the opener of a home-and-home series.
The Maple Leafs are tied for last in the Eastern Conference with just 45
points on the year and decided to shake things up with a pair of trades on
Sunday. All told, Toronto shipped six players from its NHL roster, including
Phaneuf, the two-time All-Star defenseman, was acquired from Calgary along
with forward Fredrik Sjostrom and defense prospect Keith Aulie, as Toronto
sent forwards Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Matt Stajan, as well as
defenseman Ian White to the Flames.
Giguere, who made it to two Stanley Cup Finals as a goaltender in Anaheim,
came over from the Ducks in exchange for goaltender Vesa Toskala and forward
Jason Blake. Giguere is expected to get his first start with Toronto tonight.
Phaneuf was in his fifth season with the Flames after the club had selected
him with the ninth overall pick of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. In 55 games this
season, he has 10 goals with 12 assists for 22 points.
Giguere had become the odd-man out in Anaheim, which on Saturday had signed
goaltender Jonas Hiller to a four-year contract extension. With Hiller's
emergence, Giguere appeared in just 20 games for Anaheim this season, posting
a record of 4-8-5 with a 3.14 goals-against average.
Giguere won the Conn Smythe Trophy when Anaheim lost to New Jersey in the 2003
Cup Finals and led the Ducks to the promised land in 2007 against Ottawa.
The Leafs come into tonight riding a six-game losing streak. Toronto is 0-4-2
during the slide and was dealt a 5-3 setback Saturday against visiting
Vancouver as the Sedin brothers combined for three goals in the third period.
Phil Kessel scored twice, and Mayers also lit the lamp in what turned out to
be his final game for the Maple Leafs. Toskala gave up four goals on 35 shots
to end his tenure in Toronto.
Toronto has lost four of its last five games as the host and is 9-12-5 at ACC
The Devils, who are just one point ahead of Pittsburgh for the Atlantic
Division lead, have lost three of their last four games and are coming off a
home loss Sunday against Los Angeles. Drew Doughty's power-play goal with 27.3
seconds left capped a late Los Angeles comeback as the Kings took the 3-2 win
at Prudential Center.
New Jersey led 2-0 at one point, but the Kings cut the deficit to one late in
the second period and then LA scored twice in the final 1:46 to claim the
Johnny Oduya and Travis Zajac each had a goal for the Devils, who have dropped
seven of their last 10 games. Martin Brodeur stopped 19 shots in the loss.
"For the most part we played a good game," said Brodeur. "But a couple of
breakdowns and the puck was in our net. It was a tough one to lose. We had our
chances in the third on the power play, but we didn't do anything with it and
we let them hang around."
New Jersey posted a 5-4 overtime win against the visiting Maple Leafs last
Friday. The Devils have taken two of three overall in the series and have also
won three of their last four in Toronto.
The Devils are 17-8-2 as the visiting team this year, but have lost five of
their last six on the road. New Jersey will host the finale of this home-and-
home on Friday.
02/02 10:43:42 ET