The buzz before the game centred around Phaneuf, but Giguere is going to be the difference maker on this team.
It was apparent after just one period of play. Giguere looked confident in the net, always sure of his decision making.
“Giguere was solid," said head coach Ron Wilson in a press conference after the game. "He’s very professional, incredible focus and concentration out there, that’s what I noticed about him,”
“When we’ve gotten that kind of goaltending we usually play pretty well,” said Wilson. “Everybody settles down, you’re not bobbling pucks as much.”
That staid approach has already affected his teammates. Toronto’s defence has rarely looked this disciplined. Their awareness of the play developing around them was visibly heightened.
The few times that Giguere gave up rebounds the Maple Leafs quickly recovered and cleared the puck out. Most notably, Christian Hanson snapped the puck out of the crease and past the blue-line in the second period after Giguere had made a stop.
“Our defence did a great job in front of him, clearing people and handling rebounds. It was nice that all these guys arrive and they immediately help you out,” said Wilson.
Giguere even helps Toronto on offence, with his superior puck-handling skills creating scoring chances. An outlet pass off the boards from the Quebecois goaltender almost made it 4-0 for the Leafs in the dying minutes of the game.
On the power play, Giguere helped the defence get the puck back into the offensive zone quickly. He made the team more effective in every aspect of the game.
Obviously, Phaneuf made a difference as well.
“Dion got a couple of good hits in early,” said Wilson. “Every time he steps on the ice the other team is looking before they even attempt anything.”
Phaneuf certainly delighted Toronto’s fans by fighting Colin White, but it was Giguere who stole the show, and will continue to be the difference maker for the club.
A 3-0 win is a welcome sight on any team’s record, but this game in particular bodes well for Toronto’s future. Looking at Giguere's sterling stats Tuesday night is all the evidence needed to see that he is the one that will win the Maple Leafs games.
It's come out today that Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke has shaken up his team, making two big trades.
First, he sent Slovenian heart-throb Matt Stajan, Ian White, Jamal Mayers and Niklas Hagman to the Calgary Flames for Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie.
Then, he sent Vesa Toskala and Jason "Johnny Wristshot" Blake to the Anaheim Ducks for J-S Giguere.
I've got to head off to work shortly, so extensive commentary will have to wait until tomorrow. Right now, it's hard to tell if the Leafs are better or worse, but they are certainly different.