TORONTO (Ticker) — New coach, similar problems for the New York
Nikolai Kulemin scored the lone goal in shootout and Vesa
Toskala denied all three attempts as the Toronto Maple Leafs
spoiled John Tortorella’s debut with a 2-1 victory over the
Rangers on Wednesday in the conclusion of a home-and-home
Kulemin also collected an assist on Niklas Hagman’s goal in
regulation and Toskala made 31 saves before the bonus format for
the Maple Leafs, who went 3-0-1 against the Rangers this season
despite not scoring in either the first or second periods in any
of those contests.
Defenseman Wade Redden netted his first goal in over four months
and All-Star Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 shots for New York,
which has lost 11 of its last 13 contests (2-7-4).
Tortorella, who won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning
in 2004, replaced Tom Renney on Monday – just one day after the
Rangers lost to the Maple Leafs in overtime at Madison Square
Kulemin, who was denied on a breakaway in the extra session,
opened the shootout by beating Lundqvist with a quick snap shot
to the stick side.
The early advantage was all Toronto needed thanks to Toskala,
who stopped Markus Naslund, captain Chris Drury and Nikolai
Zherdev to secure the win.
One of the Rangers’ prize acquisitions this offseason, Redden
has been the target of some animosity from fans because of his
lack of production. The 31-year-old scored his first goal in 58
games with 9:34 remaining in the middle session.
On a man advantage, Redden took a pass from fellow blue-liner
Michal Rozsival at the right point and fired a slap shot past
Toskala for his third goal of the season and first since October
Hagman, who scored the overtime game-winner in Sunday’s 3-2
triumph over the Rangers, leveled the contest at 1-1 with 9:39
left in the third period. He took a pass from Mikhail
Grabovski, deked a New York defender and fired a wrist shot over