Toronto 5, Ducks 2.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere was ready for this one.

The most decorated goaltender in Anaheim history, playing his first game against his former team since the trade that sent him to Toronto last January, made 26 saves and outshone successor Jonas Hiller at the Air Canada Centre.

Dan Sexton and Brandon McMillan scored the Ducks’ goals, the latter giving Anaheim a 2-1 lead at 5:23 of the second period. But Toronto scored four unanswered as the Ducks couldn’t stop the bleeding defensively. Hiller made plenty of All-Star caliber saves, but let in some relatively easy ones in stopping 32 of 37.

Mikhail Grabovski scored two goals and linemate Clarke MacArthur added a goal and an assist. Phil Kessel had a pair of assists for Toronto, which was coming off a 7-0 loss at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

All-Star voting begins today.

Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan are on the ballot for the NHL All-Star Game, which will be played Jan. 30 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. Voting began at midnight and closes Jan. 3 at vote.nhl.com.

Ryan has never appeared in an All-Star Game in three NHL seasons. Perry played in the 2008 game; Getzlaf appeared in the 2008 and 2009 contests and Selanne invented the game as a youth. Not quite, but he got his first All-Star bid as a 23-year-old in 1993 and has played in 10 Games during in his 18-year career.

Selanne could well make it 11. He is tied with Getzlaf for ninth in the league in scoring with 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 19 games. Perry is tied for fifth with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists). Ryan is tied for 19th with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) and his plus-7 rating – for whatever that is worth in fan balloting – is the highest of the Ducks’ quartet.

Interesting to note: Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2.62 GAA, .899 save pct.) is on the ballot. Jonas Hiller (2.83 GAA, .920 save pct.) is not. The other ex-Ducks on the ballot include Chris Pronger (Philadelphia) and Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix).

Bryzgalov nominated for Vezina.

Former Duck Ilya Bryzgalov, along with New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.

In his second season as the Coyotes’ starter, Bryzgalov was second in the league in shutouts (8), third in wins (42), sixth in goals-against average (2.29), seventh in starts (69) and eighth in both shots faced (1,961) and saves (1,805). His season included a shutout streak of 137 minutes and 46 seconds which spanned parts of three games from October 12-15. He also bobs his head and sings “What is Love?” from “A Night at the Roxbury.”

Bryz was the backup to Jean-Sebastien Giguere for parts of four
seasons until Jonas Hiller arrived in Anaheim. His rise to prominence in Phoenix, along with today’s announcement that he was among the top three in Vezina voting by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, has led to many retellings of the story of his exodus from Anaheim.

For those wondering how the Ducks could have let Bryzgalov leave for free, here is what we wrote when he was placed on waivers in November, 2007 …

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The skinny on Vesa Toskala.

Vesa Toskala has already ordered a new goalie’s mask and sounded like he couldn’t wait to shed the Toronto Maple Leafs-colored mask that he wore Sunday in his first practice with the Ducks.


“Hopefully soon,” he said, “so I can wash that blue and white out of my gear.”

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Hiller beginning to take ownership?

Jonas Hiller signed a four-year, $18 million contract extension on Saturday, smack-dab in the middle of a shutout streak that ended Wednesday night at 1:55:03. That’s the longest of his brief NHL career, and about two periods shy of Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s team record (2:37:07).

Is Hiller’s recent success directly tied to his new contract, and the expectations that come with it? Is it a result of being named the team’s undisputed, number-one goalie? Or is the team just playing better in front of him?

Maybe it’s all of the above.
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Giguere shuts out Devils in Toronto debut.

From the Canadian Press:


Brian Burke’s team had a good night Tuesday, as Phaneuf and his new teammates rolled over the New Jersey Devils 3-0 to snap a six-game winless streak. The Leafs beat their Eastern Conference rivals thanks in large part to the energy provided by Phaneuf, new forward Fredrik Sjostrom and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Giguere finished with 30 saves, becoming only the second goaltender in team history to record a shutout in his debut. Ed Belfour was the first, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-0 on Oct. 10, 2002.

Murray: ‘It’s a good fit for them and a good fit for us.’

Ducks general Bob Murray said he wasn’t sure that Jean-Sebastien Giguere was headed for Toronto until 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

That’s how much of a whirlwind deal Sunday’s blockbuster was — mainly, according to Murray, because he was willing to trade his veteran goalie before Brian Burke was.

“I talked with (Toronto assistant) David Nonis and Burkie early in the year about this,” Murray said. “They didn’t feel it was the right time. All of a sudden, (Jonas) Hiller’s signed and I’ve got (Nonis) saying he’s interested in something. They had a much bigger deal going somewhere else (for Dion Phaneuf) and they wanted to tie everything together.

“It’s a good fit for Toronto. I think that Jiggy’s a perfect guy to be with The Monster (Jonas Gustavsson) and (goaltending consultant) Frankie Allaire. It’s a good fit for them and a good fit for us. It came together all in the last 24 hours.”
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Giguere traded to Toronto.

The Ducks have traded Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the most decorated goalie in franchise history, to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Jason Blake and goaltender Vesa Toskala.

The writing was on the wall Saturday, when the Ducks tabbed Jonas Hiller as their goaltender of the future by extending his contract for four years. Giguere, who was set to become a free agent after the 2010-11 season, must waive his no-trade clause to approve any trade.** He was expected to do so to be reunited with goaltending consultant Francois Allaire and general manager Brian Burke in Toronto, which is also much closer to his native Montreal.

Toskala, 32, lost his starting job to Jonas Gustafsson in Toronto, and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, when he is owed $4 million. Blake, 36, still has two years and $6 million remaining on his contract after this season, with a cap hit of $4 million each year.

Toskala has appeared in 260 career games with Toronto and San Jose, going 127-82-25 with 13 shutouts, a 2.77 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.

Blake peaked as a member of the New York Islanders in 2006-07, when he scored a career-high 40 goals. In an 11-year career that began with the Kings in 1998, Blake has 184 goals and 427 assists in 724 games.

**Update: The Toronto Maple Leafs were one of the teams Giguere previously indicated to Bob Murray that he would be willing to accept a trade to. Presumably, the trade was a done deal as soon as Bob Murray and Brian Burke had decided upon the specifics.
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