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Monday February 7, 2011 10:18 pm

Dustin Byfuglien heals scoring woes in Leafs therapy session




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Dustin ByfuglienWhen NHL players or teams find themselves in a slump, they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs. That was the case on Monday for Dustin Byfuglien and the Atlanta Thrashers who entered the Air Canada Centre on a three-game losing streak. Byfuglien himself hadn’t even recorded a point in his previous 13 games and the Thrashers as a team were unable to score a powerplay goal in six straight contests. All that changed courtesy of the lowly Leafs.

The Thrashers ended two of those streaks in the first period. First, Evander Kane scored a powerplay goal just 2:39 into the game; then Byfuglien notched one of his own on a 5-on-3. It looked as if the Thrashers were about to have their way with the Leafs, but the Thrashers are the worst team in the league in goals allowed for a reason. Reminiscent of Newton’s Third Law, the Leafs reacted to the Thrashers’ sudden emergence.

The Leafs scored three goals in the second period and in the third, Byfuglien got an assist for which he’ll never receive credit when he absent-mindedly gave up the puck to Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin right in front of Ondrej Pavelec, who slipped one in through the five-hole as the Leafs went on to a 5-4 win. In three games against each other, the teams have a combined 30 goals. Almost one-eighth of Toronto’s goals this season have come against Atlanta.

Part of the fun of watching two teams like Toronto and Atlanta is seeing how they play off each other. These two teams are in very different situations both on and off the ice, and they put on a show. Toronto’s almost guaranteed to not get into the playoffs and Atlanta is struggling to earn the eighth seed, yet these two teams played like it was a Stanley Cup Final. Unfortunately, for as good as both teams were on Monday, it will be a long time before either one truly challenges for the Cup.

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