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6,444 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ahh... good to be back. :) Hopefully Toronto makes it worth while.


The Leafs, winning 3 games in a row, then losing their last 3 before the Christmas break, will yet again play host when they face the visiting Minnesota Wild at the Air Canada Center tonight (7:30PM ET).

Minus Michael Peca (out 3-4 months with broken leg), Alexei Ponikarovsky (shoulder), and Kyle Wellwood (groin) lost their last game to the surging Washington Capitals 3-2 on Saturday night.

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Down 3-0, Captain Mats Sundin's scored twice in the 3rd period, but it wasn't enough in the end, as Olaf Kolzig stopped 35 shots on the night.

The performance was one of Sundin's finest, however the 3rd consecutive loss, and the lacking defencive play of Leafs' defenceman Bryan McCabe on the 1st two Washington goals overshadowed the effort.

Mats Sundin said:
''We win three games, then lose three games and give it all back. We need to be a better team, especially on home ice (now 8-9-2 at home).''
With the loss, the Leafs are now back at the .500 mark they left nearly 2 weeks ago, with a 16-16-5 record after 37 games.

Toronto currently stands at 9th in the East, and last in the Northeast Division. A far cry from where they were a month ago.

Darcy Tucker leads the team in goals with 19 in 37 games, a Mats Sundin's tear of late has put him at the usual place in the scoring lead for his team, at the top. His in 9 points in his last 5 games have him tied with Tomas Kaberle, Sundin having 32 points in 30 games.

The effort of Andrew Raycroft continues to come up short. Stopping 24 of 27 shots in the loss, the Leafs' netminder now has a 3.09 Goals Against Average and .893 Save Percentage for a 14-12-3 record in 29 games.

The Minnesota Wild, still without Star forward Marian Gaborik (groin), have also been struggling as of late, going in their last 10 games. The stumble has them losing in the tight battle a top the Northwest Divison with the Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, and vancouver Canucks.

Losing 4 of their last 6 games, the inconcistency has put them 3rd in the Division after leading it earlier in the season.

They are now 18-15-2 after 35 games played, their last game being a 3-2 Overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings on a goal by Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

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Brian Rolston leads the team in Goals (16) and 30 points after 35 games.

Manny Fernandez' struggles had him in slight battles with Goaltender Backstrom, however the job still belongs to him for the time being. he has a 2.76 Goals Against Average and .907 Save Percentage in 29 games played, and is 14-12 in that span.

This is the only meeting between the 2 teams this Season.

6,444 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Toronto won the game 4-3, but they made many mistakes in the defencive zone, Hal Gill's the most notable.

I'll have to put in a good word for Johnny Pohl here. He's been playing very well the last few weeks. If anyone's been godo for Toronto lately, it's him. Now it's 6 Points in the last 5 games for him. (3G, 3A)

... And Jeff O'Neill. He's come up big many times this year, and is playing his best Hockey in years. 12 goals on the season, and we're not even half way through. if he can get to the 20+ level again, then things it should help.

Steen scored as well. only his 3rd, but if he keeps on doing what he's doing (none of that fancy smancy stuff), he should be able to pic kthings up again. it's late for his stats, but not too late for the team.

I'm really concerned about the defence though. It's so fragile.

26,388 Posts
O'Neill's late goal seals win for Leafs

Canadian Press
12/26/2006 10:26:22 PM

TORONTO (CP) - The Toronto Maple Leafs were desperate for a win and the Minnesota Wild were their usual co-operative selves on opposition ice.

Jeff O'Neill's goal with 2:18 remaining gave the injury-riddled Leafs a 4-3 victory. They'd lost the previous three games and 10 of the previous 13.

Minnesota's franchise-record road losing streak reached nine games. The Wild haven't won an away game since a shootout in Nashville on Nov. 17. They are 4-13-1 on the road this season. Maybe the Wild have agoraphobia - fear of travel. Only Los Angeles and Phoenix have fewer points on opposition ice.

Mats Sundin, John Pohl and Alexander Steen also scored for the Leafs, while Kurtis Foster, Wes Walz and Brian Rolston scored for Minnesota.

Sundin's goal was his 1,200th career point.

Andrew Raycroft made 17 saves to earn the goaltending win, while Manny Fernandez stopped 32 in a losing effort.

On the winning goal, Sundin won the faceoff and Bryan McCabe got off a long shot. Fernandez made the save, and O'Neill slammed in the rebound for his 12th goal of the season.

It was 1-1 after 20 minutes and 2-2 after 40.

Foster shot through a forest of legs to give Minnesota an early lead. The six-foot-five defenceman from Carp, Ont., got his second goal of the season at 2:53. Toronto-born Joel Ward, appearing in his fifth NHL game, got an assist for his first big-league point.

Sundin tied it on a power play when his intended pass from the corner to the right of Fernandez struck the goalie's left leg and caromed into the net at 18:58 for his 15th goal. Mikko Koivu had been penalized for holding a stick.

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