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MacArthur Trade? - Leafs win again heading into All-Star Weekend
After a tough couple of weeks and some brief time on the fourth line last game, Clarke MacArthur was told by Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson that if he moved his feet and played hard he would be rewarded. After the New York Islanders scored two goals through the first 30 minutes of the game, Wilson put MacArthur back on a line with Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski.
North York - January 25, 2012 - After a tough couple of weeks and some brief time on the fourth line last game, Clarke MacArthur was told by coach Ron Wilson that if he moved his feet and played hard he would be rewarded. After the Islanders scored two goals through the first 30 minutes of the game, Wilson put MacArthur back on a line with Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski. MacArthur would score late in the second period to cut the Islanders lead in half before eventually scoring the game winning goal in overtime.
Shortly after the rumours swirled about MacArthur likely being traded from Toronto in the near future, he comes out and plays a hard game, and wins it for the Leafs. There's no question that he has a ton of chemistry with Grabovski and Kulemin, but sometimes his effort on the ice, or lack thereof, has led to a demotion to the third of fourth line. That second line was very effective for the Maple Leafs last season, the trio 177 points for the Leafs in the 2010-2011 season. If they can get back to that type of production, the Leafs would have quality secondary scoring that would open up some ice for the top line, who've noticed their stats decline as they have faced opposing teams top D-men shift after shift, game after game.
Any thoughts Leafs management had towards trading MacArthur will likely be put on hold for a short while. With the trade deadline about a month away, the Leafs still have time to decide if MacArthur fits with the team or not. Either way MacArthur's value is going up with games like these. If Brian Burke does in fact decide to trade him, a few good games on the second line are sure to get a better return for the Leafs. The 26 year old has 14 goals and 10 assists in 42 games this season.
The Ottawa Senators lost again tonight, their third loss in a row. They are currently in sixth in the East, but have played 52 games, while the majority of the teams in a playoff position have only played 47 or 48 games. The Winnipeg Jets lost again tonight, and have fallen to 22-22-6. Their hopes for the playoffs are dwindling. At the end of the night there is a five point difference between the Jets and the top nine. This is good news for the Leafs as they only have to concentrate on jumping a team ahead of them and don't have to worry as much about a team from behind them in the standings. That being said, the season is far from over and there's plenty of time for teams like the Jets or the Lightning, who have won their last four games, to make a playoff push.
With the win the Leafs would jump to 55 points. This ties them with the Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals, and New Jersey Devils. However, Toronto has played 49 games whereas the other three have only played 48 games thus far. The Leafs head into the All-Star break on a good note, but have to carefully prepare for a home-at-home match-up with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins are currently in fifth in the East with 60 points. They've been red hot lately, winning their last 7 games in a row.
- MacArthur's overtime goal had to be reviewed as Islanders goaltender Al Montoya made a phenomenal glove save. Upon further review, Montoya's glove was in the net.
- Jake Gardiner scored his first NHL goal tonight.
- Mikhail Grabovski had a point on all four of the Maple Leafs goals (1G, 3A), including setting up MacArthur for his two goals.
- After Grabovski scored a lucky goal, which deflected off a stick over Montoya and into the net, the Islanders got a lucky goal themselves with just 13 seconds left in the game. Grabovski wrapped the puck around the boards when it took an odd bounce and came right to the slot. Parenteau made no mistake all alone on Gustavsson.
- The Leafs went the entire game without having to kill a penalty. The third time they have done that this season.
- Jonas Gustavsson played well again tonight making 29 saves on 32 shots.
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