Wilson proud of his Leafs

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:00 AM ET

Maple Leafs goalie J-S Giguere hasn’t been shy to point out when his team’s performance was lacking, so this was a night to go the other way.

It wasn’t always pretty — far from it in a dreadful, ratty second period — but with a 3-1 win over a tired Montreal Canadiens team Saturday at the Air Canada Centre, the Leafs capped off a relatively successful eight days.

“We had five games against five very good quality teams and got three wins,” Giguere said after stopping 22 of the 23 shots he faced. “That’s a very good positive for us.”

There were a couple of miserable losses in there — at Pittsburgh and home to Philly — but in an eight-night stretch against the top five teams in the Eastern Conference, the Leafs managed to go 3-2.

“I don’t think anybody said we’d win one of those games and we won three of them, so I’m proud of the team,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said after a run that included wins over Boston, Washington and Montreal.

GAME ON

Phil Kessel was told to shake it up a little and it paid off with a goal from the side of the net to break a seven-game scoring famine. “I don’t score too many goals from there but I’ll take it,” said Kessel, who got his 11th of the season. “Fortunately I got a good bounce.” ... The hype of Dion Phaneuf’s return to Calgary next week is already starting, which is just fine with Freddie Sjostrom, who came here on the same deal. “With Dion out there, I can fly under the radar,” Sjostrom said with a laugh ... The Swede had one of his better games, setting up Kaberle’s game winner and blocking three shots .... No one benefits more from this win than the Wilson family. The coach plans to use Sunday’s off day to finish up his Christmas shopping before the team heads out on a three-game Western road trip. “I was either going as Santa or Scrooge.”

MORE SCORE

Clarke MacArthur gets the knockout by slugging former Buffalo teammate Jaroslav Spacek but among folks that track such things, he won’t even get credited with his first career NHL fight. MacArthur, who felt he was blindsided by Spacek earlier in the shift, dropped the Hab with one punch so was only assessed a minor for roughing ... Spacek didn’t return due to what the Canadiens called an upper-body injury ... Toronto finally had some modest success on faceoffs, winning 54% against the Habs ... Montreal’s lack of energy showed in a number of ways, one of the worst being a dozen icing calls on the game ... Rough night for Habs defenceman P.K. Subban playing in front of family and friends. He was a minus-3 on and was badly caught out of position on the first two Toronto goals ... Mike Cammalleri ultimately shot wide on a first-period breakaway but give Giguere credit for coming out to challenge and give the Habs forward nothing to shoot at.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

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