College of Sports Media Game of the Night:
Some people may be scratching their heads over this one, but tonight you don’t want to miss the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche. This has absolutely nothing to do with the Maple Leafs (or Laughs depending on what side of the Leaf Nation fence you sit on). Many NHL analysts wrote the Avalanche off from the get-go, but early on in the season this team has been proving the nay-sayers wrong. Thanks, in part, to the play of rookie Matt Duchene. Granted this 18 year old hasn’t lit it up point wise (2 assists), but the amount of energy and enthusiasm he’s brought to Colorado is invaluable. Plus with the amount of chances he’s created for himself you can be sure that first goal will come sooner then later. The Avs have also been getting spectacular goaltending from Craig Anderson. He’s started every game so far and has already backstopped the team to big wins over San Jose, Vancouver (shutout in that one) and Boston. The same cannot be said for Toronto. Vesa Toskala has the league’s worst save percentage (.812) for starting goaltenders and has let in the most goals (19). The man expected to push Toskala, Jonas Gustavsson was placed on the injured reserve last Thursday with a groin injury and was expected to miss at least a week. So Joey MacDonald is now the back up. Toskala and the Leafs got pummeled last night 7-2 by the New York Rangers and it wouldn’t be surprising to see head coach Ron Wilson give MacDonald the start tonight. If the Leafs are going to pick up their first win of the season they’ll have to stop giving up first period leads. In their five games so far, Toronto has been outscored 8-2 to the first period. With the lack of scoring for Toronto, one has to wonder if GM Brain Burke is counting down the days before Phil Kessel will be healthy and ready to play. Unfortunately by that time the Leafs may be in so low in the standings that Kessel’s return would be too little to late.