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Canadian Press
12/18/2006 3:55:18 PM


TORONTO (CP) - Veteran Leafs formed a semicircle in front of goaltender Andrew Raycroft and goofed around towards the end of practice Monday.

Beating Raycroft with a shot allowed a player to order a teammate to do 10 pushups on the Air Canada Centre ice. Darcy Tucker kept scoring and kept picking on Tomas Kaberle, who begged for mercy after two sets of 10.

A shot that missed the net resulted in pushups, too, and captain Mats Sundin took his punishment with a smile.

It was a fun time. Win three in a row and that's what happens to an NHL team. Giddiness sets in.

The Leafs will try to help themselves to a fourth straight win when they play the visiting Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Tucker has a sore hand but the teams leading scorer is fit enough to play.

Everything has been bouncing Toronto's way of late.

''We're starting to get some breaks and that makes a big difference,'' said Raycroft.

The return of former Leafs goalie Ed Belfour, who has been playing well for the Panthers, isn't on Raycroft's mind.

''Never met him, don't know him, doesn't matter,'' said Raycroft. ''He's a Hall of Famer, without a doubt, but he's not going to score any goals.''

Coach Paul Maurice predicts a tight-checking game. Toronto beat Florida 2-1 in a shootout in October in Toronto, and the Panthers beat the Leafs 4-2 in November in Sunrise

''I think it's going to be a low-scoring affair just based on the way they've played us,'' said Maurice. ''They've got good goaltending . . . they really took it to us in Florida. Hopefully we move the puck a little better this time.''

The Leafs have been better since Carlo Colaiacovo got back into the lineup. The rushing defenceman has added zip to the blue-line corps.

''The biggest thing is confidence,'' he said. ''Right now, I've got a lot of it and so does the team.

''As bad as things were a couple of weeks ago, we've turned things around, and we want to continue doing that up to the Christmas break.''

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