The New York Rangers' latest addition Martin St. Louis (26) battles for the puck with Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Troy Bodie (40) and defenceman Morgan Rielly (44) during the second period Wednesday. (Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters)
The Toronto Maple Leafs survived the arrival of superstar Martin St.
Louis on Broadway. They also survived their own dysfunctional power
play in a rare 3-2 win over the Rangers in New York on Wednesday.
The Toronto Maple Leafs survived the arrival of superstar Martin St. Louis on Broadway. They also survived their own dysfunctional power play.
St. Louis, who led the NHL in scoring last season, was traded to the New York Rangers by the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday morning and hopped a plane to make it to New York for the game that night. He was held pointless as the Maple Leafs won 3-2, their first win at Madison Square Garden since Dec. 5, 2011.
Toronto took a 2-0 lead, but then, for the second time in four games, surrendered two shorthanded goals on one power play. They did it in a 5-4 loss to the Islanders Feb. 27.
This time Toronto had a great chance to take a 3-0 lead when New York's Brad Richards was penalized at 5:18 of the third period, but the Rangers responded with a shorthanded goal -- the ninth the Maple Leafs have surrendered this season. Rangers defenceman Ryan McDonagh took a shot that deflected off Bozak's stick and then changed directions again after hitting defenceman Dion Phaneuf's skate.
Then 1:19 later Dominic Moore picked off a bad Phil Kessel pass in the defensive zone and broke away two-on-one one with Derek Stepan. Two passes later the puck was in the Toronto net. Make that 10 SHG.
"We make some individual mistakes, but in the end they scored the two goals and the momentum went their way and in the third period we started to the puck in and didn't turn it over as many times," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "We played more of a grind game and we had some chances. We have to look at it as two points that are huge. It doesn't feel so good now, but tomorrow in the standings it will show two points."
It isn't often the eighth leading scorer in the NHL is traded, but this was rather unusual circumstances. At the time he was moved to New York for Ryan Callahan, a conditional second round pick in 2014 (it can become a first round pick depending on how far the Rangers go this season) and a first round pick in 2015, St. Louis had 29 goals and 61 points in 62 games.
St. Louis was not chosen for the 2010 Canadian Olympic hockey team by Steve Yzerman and was upset. He was determined to make the 2014 Olympic team and led all NHLers in scoring between the end of the 2010 Games and Jan. 7, 2014 when the 2014 team was named. By now Yzerman was also his GM in Tampa Bay, but again St. Louis was ignored.
St. Louis was ultimately named as the replacement for injured Steven Stamkos, but felt his relationship with his GM was unrepairable. New York was his first choice because he owns a home in nearby Connecticut and lives there in the off-season.
To St. Louis's credit, even after not being named to the Canadian team, he did not let it affect his play. He scored two goals Jan. 7, the day he was left off the team, and had eight goals and 14 points in Tampa Bay's next 10 games.
St. Louis played with the Lightning in St. Louis Tuesday night (one assist and minus-4 in a 4-2 defeat), flew home and arrived in Tampa Bay in the wee hours of the morning and then, upon being dealt to the Rangers, hopped on a plane for New York to face the Maple Leafs.
Reunited and it feels so good
St. Louis was placed on a line with former Lightning teammate Brad Richards at centre and Carl Hagelin on left wing.
St. Louis was not in the starting lineup, but came out on the second shift of the game and nearly scored on a one-timer slap shot from the slot at 0:57.
Thirteen minutes into the first period Hagelin set up St. Louis at the side of the Maple Leafs net, but he was unable to connect.
Return of Bernier
Bernier did not look sharp in back-to-back overtime losses against the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens coming out of the Olympic break so backup James Reimer got the start, and was the game's third star, in a 3-2 loss to Columbus Monday. Bernier looked solid against the Rangers.
Beauty by Bozie
Bozak was awarded a penalty shot at 1:44 of the second period when he broke in alone, but was unable to get a shot off because he was being hooked by New York's Ryan McDonagh. Bozak snapped one through the five-hole on Henrik Lundqvist to make it 1-0. It is the third time Lundqvist has faced a penalty shot this season and he has yet to make a save.
Centre Nazem Kadri scored his first goal in seven games on a rebound early in the third period to make it 2-0. Teammate Nikolai Kulemin made a nice play controlling the pick in the slot and ripping a shot that Lundqvist stopped, but the rebound bounced to Kadri who batted it in.
Mike BrophyMike Brophy brings a wealth of hockey writing and broadcasting experience to CBC Sports, having covered junior hockey for 14 years before joining The Hockey News as its senior writer for 17 years starting in 1992. Most recently, the Burlington, Ont., native worked as a writer/commentator at Rogers Sportsnet and as co-host of The Power Play on SiriusXM. Mike has written four books, including My First Goal, featuring 50 players describing their first NHL goals.