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Leafs 2 v. Red Wings 3(SO): Baby Steps


Game Recap
I already covered the flashpoint of this game, the Kubina incident, earlier and the game was nothing to write home about other than the fact that the Leafs again gave up a shorthanded goal. This time, their lollygagging allowed the Wings to get a three-on-two with Darcy Tucker's man Kris Draper roofing the puck over Raycroft's shoulder. That sort of lazy backchecking was endemic during Pat Quinn's tenure and Maurice must have been going insane.

The scary thing was the stat that was quoted that in 2005-2006 teams that scored a shorthanded goal went 141-39 with the Leafs popping in at 10-2. Clearly, the sense of urgency on the powerplay, which is good in terms of puck pursuit in the offensive zone, needs to be expanded to the backcheck as well.

The best part of the game was that it went to a shootout and we were a able to get an idea of how the team would approach a weak spot from last year. For a team that missed the playoffs by two points going 3-7 in shootouts was the difference between a fifth straight elimination of the sens and a summer of rebuilding. Of course, the problem with facing the Red Wings in a shootout is that they have some amazing one-on-one players. However, there is hope that we will fare much better this year.

Toronto Shooters
Sundin â•" Almost lost the puck going in but he went with his great wrist shot high glove and scored
Suglobov â•" Came in at least 200 times faster than Allison used to, tried a deke that had Osgood on the verge of falling but just put it wide
Wellwood â•" More controversy! He deked the crap out of Osgood but the Detroit tender managed to throw his glove back to 'stop' it. The netcam was not set up so the angle that showed that the puck was in Osgood's trapper which was in the net was unavailable. Leafs lose.

Detroit Shooters
Hudler â•" Skated in and shot high glove off the post and in.
Zetterberg â•" Perfectly executed the the Forsberg-move. Note to Leafs: Do not go to a shootout with Detroit in our only regular season game when they will have Pavel Datsyuk available.

Maple Leaf Goals
First Goal
Pavel Kubina displayed some of his offensive skills by sneaking in from the point and taking a Peca pass before flicking it over Osgoodâ•˙s shoulder.

Second Goal
Sundin wins the faceoff cleanly and Wellwood recovers the puck. He dishes it to Kaberle who shoots? Yup, you read that right. Osgood lets out a huge rebound and Sundin buries the rebound.

The Final Word

"Don't panic," said Maurice of what fans watched at the ACC last night. He dismissed it as two tired teams playing out the exhibition string and looking ahead to the regular season.
Paul Hunter, Toronto Star