TORONTO — Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Dion Phaneuf made the most of their Maple Leafs debut, leading Toronto to a 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night that snapped a six-game losing streak.
Giguere finished with 30 saves, becoming only the second goalie in team history to record a shutout in his debut. Ed Belfour was the first, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-0 on Oct. 10, 2002.
By the end of the first period, Phaneuf had landed a hit, took part in a fight, and received an ovation.
Nikolai Kulemin, Phil Kessel and defenseman Francois Beauchemin provided all the offense Giguere needed. Another newcomer, Fredrik Sjostrom, earned an assist on Kulemin’s first-period goal to mark his first game with Toronto.
New Jersey backup Yann Danis, making his first start since Nov. 21, stopped 23 shots.
Phaneuf and Sjostrom were acquired from Calgary, and Giguere came to the Leafs from Anaheim on Sunday in a pair of big trades.
More changes could be coming to the Maple Leafs before the March 3 trade deadline.
Toronto followed an overtime loss in New Jersey on Friday with another defeat at home to Vancouver on Saturday, when the Maple Leafs gave up a three-goal, first-period lead en route to a 5-3 loss.
Kulemin gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead against the Devils on Tuesday when he buried a rebound of Sjostrom’s shot behind Danis.
It was a rare night off for No. 1 New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur, who had played in 40 consecutive games and had become only the second NHL netminder to play in 15 or more games in consecutive months.
Phaneuf gave the crowd its second thrill of the game when he fought defenseman Colin White. The fans roared as Phaneuf skated to the box, chewing on his mouth guard.
Kessel made it 2-0 two minutes into the second when he put a rebound past a helpless Danis. Toronto grabbed a three-goal lead when Beauchemin took a pass in his skates and ripped a shot through Danis from the blue line.
Even though D Paul Martin (broken arm) withdrew from the U.S. Olympic team on Monday, the Devils are still set to send five players to the Vancouver Games: Brodeur (Canada), D Johnny Oduya (Sweden) and forwards Patrik Elias (Czech Republic), Zach Parise (USA) and Jamie Langenbrunner (USA). … Leafs G Jonas Gustavsson and LW Alexei Ponikarovsky were awarded the Molson Cup for January in a pregame ceremony. … Phaneuf finished the first period of his Toronto debut with 5:11 of ice time and a 5-minute penalty.
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