NHL Hockey Hall of Fame Game
Jonas Gustavsson and Phil Kessel showed why Brian Burke acquired both players over the summer as the Toronto Maple Leafs capitalized on an early start, beating the Detroit Red Wings 5-1 in the annual NHL HockeyHall of Fame game Saturday night.
With the Wings winning the Western Conference last year and the Leafs starting the year on a brutal losing steak, this game was a role reversal for both teams. Until Kessel’s return the Leafs had won just once and even after his first game back, no one could have predicted how quickly they would be able to turn in a dominant performance as they did against the Wings.
Get Your Phil
In just his third game for the Leafs since returning from off-season shoulder surgery, Phil Kessel scored his first goal for the team and added an assist to average a point per game this season. Thought it seems unlikely that Kessel will finish the season with a point-per-game, he undeniably brings a scoring touch and an eye for goal to a team that desperately needs offensive creativity.
Harnessing the Monster
Jonas “the Monster” Gustavsson exhibited much of the same talent in this game that garnered him recognition as the best goaltender not playing in the NHL last season as he lead his team, Färjestad, to the Swedish Elite League title. In 8 games played so far, Gustavvson, one of three Leaf goalies to start this year, has the team’s only three wins, with a solid .918 save percentage and respectable 2.60 Goals Against Average (GAA). As the Maple Leafs begin to play with greater confidence, look for the save percentage to inch it’s way up and the GAA to start sliding down.