Yes, it is only one game. Yes, it was against a depleted Habs team. But it was still very enjoyable to win the first home opener and start this decade off with a win.
The main difference, clearly, is Toskala, or the lack thereof. The impact he had on this team is amazing, here we are months after he was shipped out and the buzz around the Leaf Nation is how the goaltending situation seems a lot better. That takes some skill, or lack thereof, on Toskala’s part.
Maybe it was the D-men flailing in front of him, coughing up chance after chance. Maybe it was the pathetic penalty killing. Maybe it was the strange gravity well that always remained 3 feet behind him, always pulling the puck through the smallest of holes. Or maybe it was just a lack of focus brought on by the delusion of adequate play and refusal to admit that he had a puck problem.
I don’t know, I’m not a physicist.
It doesn’t really matter I suppose; he is gone and Giguere (getting’ Jiggy with it) is here and made sure in both debuts (after the trade and start of this season) he has proven he has game left.
Top end potential, let’s say back to Conn Smythe trophy form, he could carry the team to the playoffs. Bottom end, I would say somewhere in the .900% range, which would be the one of the better starters for the Leafs since the lockout. How depressing is that? Of course the odds are on The Monster or Giguere (gettin’ Jiggy with it) playing to at least the .910% plateau hopefully with a GAA below three.
This would be enough to climb out of the cellar but not a lock for a playoff spot. That is up to the top two lines, If Kessel keeps pace and hits 40+ goals, two others have breakout years and none of the top six completely collapses, it could happen. There are surprise teams every year, but that is a lot of ifs with an unproven lineup.
Still, you gotta Beleaf.