You'd think Chris was travelling with the Leafs this weekend, working all that overtime -- somehow he managed to get the morning off. But life goes on. And on the weekend, it went on... and on... and on... heck, even the CFLers got into the OT spirit.
Leafs, shootout losers Friday to Hurricanes (thanks a lot, referee), then back home to trump the Habs in overtime (thanks a lot, referee). Proof that in even the hockey world the forces of good and evil will balance out: Leafs were wondering why video replay wasn't used in Carolina to give them what appeared to be Sundin's overtime winner, only to lose in yet another shootout (more on that later).
Then, back at home Saturday and a penalty call just in time for extra time and, yup, Sundin gets his OT goal, Leafs avoid the dreaded shootout, Canadiens go home fuming and Leaf Nation is back in balance.
|No dice on the poke-check from Mikael Tellqvist Friday night.|
Today, Leafs hit the road for a mini three-game road trip. Panthers (hey, Joe Nieuwendyk is supposed to play!), Lightning, Thrashers -- three teams below them in the standings (Tampa's played 26 games for 29 points, Leafs played 24 games for the same). A quick look at the East:
Ottawa 36 points
NY Rangers 35
Tampa Bay 29
NY Islanders 25
New Jersey 24
Leafs are 1-3 in shootouts this season. Allan Ryan has the stats: they've taken just nine shots in four shootouts. Eric Lindros has their only goal.
Maybe it's too early or just too silly to do this, but even just two extra points in the standings puts Buds deeper into the playoff picture and closer to fourth seed and some of that home ice advantage. (more importantly nobody wants that 8th seed and date with Ottawa in the first round - hands up if you wanna play the Senators in the first round. They've played the fewest games in the league (21) and are tied with Detroit with the most points (36).
But we won't hate on the shootout today. Not after Satruday's 15-rounder at Madison Square Garden.
A quick look around the league shows the Bruins deathwatch is still going, and the undertaker is looking this way. The coach is too often the goat when a team is struggling, and today we spot a mention of Paul Maurice as a possible new man in Beantown.
Tonight, Leafs meet Florida, formerly known as 12-game losing streak. Paul Hunter has their sad story and the trade rumours. Not that trading Roberto Luongo will help:
''Our poor goalies have been getting killed out there", says Gary Roberts.
One lineup note from Ken Campbell this morning Colaiacovo back on the Buds' blue line. (SW)