Maple Leafs visit Flames in Phaneuf's return to Calgary

The Sports Network
12/16/2010 12:05:00 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to record their first three-game winning streak since the opening week of the season when they visit the Calgary Flames tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Maple Leafs have won two in a row, including a 4-1 victory in Edmonton on Tuesday to kick off this three-game road trip, and Toronto hasn't strung together three consecutive triumphs since a season-opening four-game winning streak.

Also tonight, Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf, who scored his first goal of the season in the recent win over the Oilers, will play his first game in Calgary since being dealt from the Flames to the Leafs during last season.

Phaneuf was the ninth overall pick of the 2003 draft by Calgary and he was a Calder and Norris Trophy candidate during his five seasons with the Flames. However, on January 31 he was dealt along with Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie to Toronto in exchange for Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Ian White and Jamal Mayers.

"It'll be a special night," Phaneuf told the Toronto newspaper the Globe and Mail. "I played a lot of hockey there. I have a lot of respect for that organization. I have a lot of respect for the guys I played with."

Phaneuf's goal helped Toronto notch Tuesday's road win, but the Maple Leafs, who complete their three-game tour of western Canada this Saturday in Vancouver, are still 4-8-1 as the road team this season.

Phil Kessel and Kris Versteeg both posted a goal and an assist on Tuesday for the Maple Leafs, who have won four of their last six games. Jean-Sebastien Giguere was sharp with 23 saves, while Mikhail Grabovski also scored in the victory.

"I knew that the first 10 minutes of the game would be crucial," said Giguere. "We knew the Oilers would come out and shoot everything at the net, so I had to make sure that I was ready and I felt pretty good all game."

The Maple Leafs have not fared well recently against the Flames, losing three of four and six of the last nine meetings between the clubs. Toronto has also lost five straight at the Saddledome since last winning in Calgary on December 27, 2002.

Tonight marks the first of two meetings between these teams as the Flames will also visit Toronto on Jan. 15.

The Flames ended a two-game slide in their last outing and also kicked off a three-game homestand on a positive note with an overtime victory over Columbus. Jarome Iginla's second goal of the game, coming with 1:11 left in OT, sent Calgary to the 3-2 decision over the Blue Jackets.

Capping almost a minute of heavy pressure in the Flames' offensive zone, Iginla was able to gather a behind-the-back centering pass from Alex Tanguay and hit a half-open net for the game-winner.

Brendan Morrison notched the other score for the Flames, while Miikka Kiprusoff made 22 saves for the win.

"Just a very strong effort from our organization tonight, and we need to get more wins even if it comes in one-goal games," noted Iginla.

The Flames have won two straight and four of their last five on home ice. They are 8-6-0 as the host this season.

Dion Phaneuf (Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
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