Heading into Tuesday night's tilt between the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks Ron Wilson had the opportunity to do what only six other NHL coaches had done before him, win his 600th game as an NHL coach.
The irony of having a shot to win No. 600 in front of the fans (and many of his ex-players) that witnessed 206 of Wilson’s wins was well documented. Surely No. 600 would be sweet, winning it in San Jose (the city and team that dismissed Wilson) would be icing on the cake.
Through two periods the Maple Leafs had been shut down. Trailing 1-0, Phil Kessel (who was named to the All-Star team yesterday) notched his 19th of the season, tying the game at one.
Clarke MacArthur scored on the power play, giving the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead before Sharks forward Patrick Marleau tied it at two goals apiece.
The Maple Leafs defenseman would give the Leafs the lead once again, tipping the puck past Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi at 10:10 of the third. MacArthur added an empty net goal, solidifying the Leafs 18th victory of the season, fourth in a row and fifth straight road win.
Overall it was a great effort from the Buds, who are suddenly one of the hottest teams in the NHL.
Leafs goaltender James Reimer garnered first star status, stopping 40 of 42 Sharks shots and winning his fourth game in six starts in the process.
Congratulations, Mr. Wilson. In a season where the media and fans have been calling for your head on a platter you have hit a milestone every NHL coach strives for and few accomplish…you gotta think No. 600 was pretty sweet. Maybe, just maybe, San Jose gave up on you too soon?
Until next time,