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Toronto Maple Leafs January 2009 Game Summaries

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The following is a list of game summaries featured on the main page of this wiki for the month of January 2009. The summaries feature a brief summary of the game in question, as well as a link to a more detailed statistical summary from an official source.


January 1, 2009
Buffalo Sabres 4 - Toronto Maple Leafs 1

A night after recording his 450th career NHL victory, goaltender Curtis Joseph showed signs of fatigue from playing in his second straight start, as the Toronto Maple Leafs were defeated by the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on January 1, 2009. The new year did not start well for Joseph, who allowed 4 goals on only 20 Buffalo shots. Buffalo forwards Derek Roy and Jason Pominville were the catalysts for the Sabres' scoring on this night, each providing two goals in the victory. John Mitchell scored the lone goal on the night for the Maple Leafs when he tallied a marker mid-way through the third period. However, the game was already too far out of hand for Toronto to mount any sizable comeback attempt. The Maple Leafs did have opportunities early in the game, as Niklas Hagman was given a penalty shot late in the first period, but was stopped by Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller. The Sabres then scored the opening goal early into the second period, and never looked close to relinquishing the lead. Toronto also went 0-5 on the power play on the night, culminating in a loss which gives the team four losses out of their last five games.

January 3, 2009
Ottawa Senators 1 - Toronto Maple Leafs 3

In the latest installment of the Battle of Ontario, the Toronto Maple Leafs withstood a strong physical attack early in the game, and received clutch goal scoring when it was needed to defeat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on January 3, 2009. Vesa Toskala returned in goal for the Maple Leafs, and played his strongest game in recent history, stopping 30 of 31 Ottawa shots in the victory. Ottawa began the game with a strong physical presence, in hopes of catching Toronto off balance. However, the tactic only resulted in a penalty-filled game, which saw a total of 48 penalty minutes in the game. Toronto weathered the Ottawa attack, and received timely goals from Dominic Moore, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jason Blake to propel them to the victory. The Toronto win was only their second victory in their last six games.

January 6, 2009
Florida Panthers 4 - Toronto Maple Leafs 2

In his first game since being traded from the Maple Leafs in the offseason, defenceman Bryan McCabe was able to relish a sense of revenge with his new club, as the Florida Panthers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on January 6, 2009. McCabe recorded an assist on the first goal of the night, and was the subject of constant heat from the boisterous Toronto crowd. The Panthers were quick on the outset of the game, registering 10 shots in the first five minutes of the game. The Maple Leafs seemed unable to recover from the onslaught, and were never able to mount of comeback after allowing the game's first goal. Toronto starting goaltender Vesa Toskala allowed 4 goals on 34 Florida shots while suffering his 13th loss of the season. Toronto forward Alexei Ponikarovsky recorded his 13th goal of the season, which moved him into a tie for first in team scoring with Nik Antropov. Jason Blake also scored a shorthanded goal in the loss. The loss was the Maple Leafs' fifth in their last seven games.

January 8, 2009
Toronto Maple Leafs 2 - Montreal Canadiens 6

In a game that saw a historic rivalry intensified with physical and rough play, the Montreal Canadiens prevailed in the end, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 on January 8, 2009. The Canadiens jumped out to a quick start in the game, scoring two goals within the first five minutes of the game. Toronto attempted to answer the Montreal offensive charge, as Dominic Moore scored a power play goal for the Maple Leafs mid-way through the first period. However, Montreal went on to score four straight goals after that point, and Matt Stajan's later third period tally for the Leafs was too little to mount any type of comeback. The game was highlighted by intense physical play, as marked by the eight misconduct penalties handed out during the game. Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski alone received 32 penalty minutes in the game, and was ejected from the game after pushing away a linesman and kicking a helmet across the ice after being removed from a skirmish late in the third period. Maple Leafs' starting goaltender Vesa Toskala struggled in the game, and was pulled before the start of the third period after allowing 5 goals on only 21 shots during the first two periods of the game. He was replaced by backup Curtis Joseph for the remainder of the game. The loss was Toronto's sixth in their past eight games.

January 10, 2009
Toronto Maple Leafs 1 - Philadelphia Flyers 4

Proving his place as one of the NHL's most prolific goal scorers, forward Jeff Carter scored twice to take the NHL goal scoring lead, as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on January 10, 2009. Carter's 28th and 29th goals of the season included the eventual game winner, as the Maple Leafs were incapable of overcoming the potent Flyers offense. Philadelphia starting goaltender Martin Biron stopped 41 of 42 Maple Leaf shots on the game, and was a key factor in the Flyers' victory. Despite badly outshooting the Flyers 42-30, the Maple Leafs could only muster a single goal from Alexei Ponikarovsky, and went 0-4 on the power play on the night. Despite the loss, Toronto starter Vesa Toskala played well for the Maple Leafs, allowing only 3 goals on 30 shots to the skilled Philadelphia team. Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski served the first of his three game suspension for an incident in the January 8 game against Montreal. He is eligible to return on January 16 against Atlanta. The loss was Toronto's seventh in their past nine games.

January 13, 2009
Nashville Predators 2 - Toronto Maple Leafs 0

In only his second game of the season after missing the entire 2007-08 season, Nashville forward Steve Sullivan burned his former club as the Nashville Predators defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 on January 13, 2009. Sullivan earned an assist, his first point in nearly two years, off a Radek Bonk deflection goal that beat Toronto goaltender Vesa Toskala. Nashville starting goaltender Pekka Rinne earned the shutout in the victory, and was relatively untested in the night, only being forced to make 17 saves in the win. Toskala played solidly for the Maple Leafs, stopping 21 of 23 shots in the loss. Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski missed his second game due to a suspension, and will be forced to miss the Maple Leafs' next game against Carolina Hurricanes before being eligible to return to the lineup. The loss was Toronto's fourth in a row, and their eighth in their last ten games overall.

January 15, 2009
Toronto Maple Leafs 6 - Carolina Hurricanes 4

In his best performance as a Maple Leaf, forward Jason Blake shined in front of his former coach Paul Maurice, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on January 15, 2009. Blake, who had a tumultuous relationship with former Toronto head coach Maurice, erupted for a five-point game against Maurice's new team, the Hurricanes. Blake scored a hat trick, and added two assists, as Toronto weathered a comeback attempt from Carolina in order to hold on to the victory. Opening up a sizeable 4-0 lead by the latter half of the second period, the Maple Leafs appeared to have the victory secured. However, four straight goals from Carolina evened the score mid-way through the third period. However, Tomas Kaberle's power-play goal late in the third period proved to be the game winner, as Blake completed his hat trick with an empty net goal, sealing the victory. Ian White and Niklas Hagman also scored goals on the night for Toronto. Toronto goaltender Vesa Toskala was uneven, allowing 4 goals on 32 shots, but proved effective enough to give the team the victory, which snapped the Maple Leafs' four-game losing streak.

January 16, 2009
Toronto Maple Leafs 3 - Atlanta Thrashers 4 (OT)

Despite early successes, which saw them jump up to an early lead, the Toronto Maple Leafs faltered down the stretch, losing to the Atlanta Thrashers 4-3 in overtime on January 16, 2009. The Maple Leafs, riding an apparent wave of confidence following their previous victory, jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the close of the first period, following goals from Lee Stempniak, Dominic Moore and Niklas Hagman. Thrashers starting goaltender Johan Hedberg was removed prior to the start of the second period, and was replaced by Kari Lehtonen. New Atlanta captain Ilya Kovalchuk responded for the Thrashers early in the second period, trimming the Toronto lead to 3-1. Bryan Little scored late in the second period for Atlanta, making it a one-goal game. The Thrashers were dominant in the second period, outshooting the Maple Leafs 17-3 in that time. The Maple Leafs retained the lead for much of the third period, until Kovalchuk recorded his second goal of the game late in the third period, tying the game. In the overtime period, Atlanta forward Rich Peverley scored the game winner, completing the Thrasher comeback. Despite the early lead, Toronto was outplayed in much of the game, being outshot 38-17 by the Thrashers. The loss was Toronto's fifth in their last six games.

January 19, 2009
Carolina Hurricanes 2 - Toronto Maple Leafs 0

In stark contrast to his first game against his old team, Carolina head coach Paul Maurice led his team to a complete victory, as the Hurricanes defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 on January 19, 2009. The victory, which snapped the Hurricanes' five-game losing streak, was a vast improvement over the 6-4 loss suffered at the hands of the Maple Leafs on January 15. Carolina starting goaltender Cam Ward made 35 saves in the victory, earning his second shutout of the season. Ward was the apparent difference in the game, making key saves throughout, including a breakaway save against Toronto forward Niklas Hagman, as well as consecutive saves against Tomas Kaberle and Anton Stralman. The loss, which was the Maple Leafs' 10th in their last 13 games, also saw their scoreless streak on home ice extend to 127 minutes and 51 seconds. Toronto starting goaltender Vesa Toskala was solid in the loss, stopping 32 of 34 Carolina shots, and suffered more from a lack of offensive support, rather than any miscues on his part. Defenceman Mike Van Ryn was expected to make his return from injury in this game, but failed health tests forced him to remain off ice in order to recover from his second concussion of the season.

January 21, 2009
Boston Bruins 4 - Toronto Maple Leafs 3 (SO)

Despite maintaining a two-goal lead into the third period, the inexperience of the Maple Leafs, coupled with the dominant play of the Bruins of late, led to a Boston comeback and eventual shootout victory, as the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 via shootout on January 21, 2009. Despite playing one of the league's top teams, the Maple Leafs stormed out of the gate, opening the scoring off a Jason Blake goal. Despite a Boston equalizer from Blake Wheeler, the Maple Leafs continued to press, and were rewarded with two consecutive goals from Lee Stempniak and Brad May. Prior to this game, the Bruins had not had much success in rallying from a deficit, and were 0-6-2 in games they trailed after the second period. However, the talent of the Bruins team was too much for the Maple Leafs to defend, as Dennis Wideman and Zdeno Chara each tallied power-play goals in the third period, tying the game. The Maple Leafs' key problem appeared to be penalties, as they received four consecutive minor penalties in the third, giving the Bruins the power play advantages they used to tie the game. The game remained tied through the overtime period, and entered into a shootout, where Boston forward Michael Ryder scored the shootout and game winner. The Maple Leafs now head into the NHL All-Star break, where they will see Tomas Kaberle as their lone representative in the game.

January 25, 2009
57th National Hockey League All-Star Game
Western Conference 11 - Eastern Conference 12 (SO)

In a season of celebration for the Montreal Canadiens, the 57th NHL All-Star Game proved to be the high point of the year, as the Eastern Conference All-Stars defeated the Western Conference All-Stars 12-11 via shootout on January 25, 2009. In a season marking the franchise's 100th anniversary, the hosting Canadiens saw four hometown players voted into the Eastern Conference starting lineup. Among these four was Alexei Kovalev, who emerged from the victory as the game's most valuable player. Kovalev, the Eastern squad's team captain, recorded 2 goals and 1 assist, and also scored the shootout winner. Alexander Ovechkin, Martin St. Louis, Marc Savard and Jay Bouwmeester also had three-point games for the Eastern team. Sheldon Souray, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Rick Nash and Milan Hejduk all had three-point games, leading the Western team. Toronto's Tomas Kaberle recorded two assists in the game as the Maple Leafs' sole representative. Kaberle saw just over 20 minutes of game time in the prolonged game. Boston goaltender Tim Thomas recorded the victory, as he played all of the third period and overtime, as well as the shootout session. Thomas stopped all Western shootout attempts on the way to the victory.

  • Complete Recap & Box Score Available at nhl.com
January 27, 2009
Toronto Maple Leafs 1 - Minnesota Wild 6

In his second NHL start, Justin Pogge suffered from a lack of defensive presence in front of him, as well as several Toronto miscues, as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1 on January 27, 2009. Pogge, recently recalled from the Toronto Marlies, allowed all 6 Wild goals on only 21 shots faced. Pogge, who was expected to be returned to the Marlies following the game, regardless of his performance, was subject to consistent defensive errors from his supporting players, en route to the lopsided loss. Pogge was selected for this game in part due to Minnesota's lack of goal scoring prowess displayed so far in this season. However, Pierre-Marc Bouchard led the Wild attack, providing two goals and an assist in the victory. Toronto forward Jason Blake scored the lone Maple Leaf goal, improving his season goal total to a team-leading 15. The loss continues Toronto's poor string of play prior to the All-Star break, as the loss was the Maple Leafs' 12th in their last 15 games.

January 29, 2009
Toronto Maple Leafs 7 - Colorado Avalanche 4

An interference penalty called against forward Ryan Smyth nullified a possible tying goal from teammate Milan Hejduk, and eventually led to the Toronto Maple Leafs' 7-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on January 29, 2009. Hejduk's no-goal call was made early in the third period, and prevented the Avalanche from making a complete comeback on home ice. Toronto goals from Jason Blake, Matt Stajan and Dominic Moore clinched the victory for the Maple Leafs, in a game far closer than the final score indicates. Nik Antropov opened the scoring for Toronto, but was answered by Colorado's Chris Stewart and Hejduk. Mikhail Grabovski and former Avalanche Jeff Finger answered for Toronto, while Hejduk scored for a second time to even the score in the back-and-forth game. Moore took the lead back for Toronto late in the second period, and the Maple Leafs never relinquished the lead again. Hejduk's rejected hat trick goal proved to be the pivotal moment of the third period, as the Maple Leafs dominated the period following the incident on route to victory. The victory was only Toronto's fourth in their last 16 games.

January 31, 2009
Pittsburgh Penguins 4 - Toronto Maple Leafs 5

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