Tonight, the streak ends
Reasons for optimism:
-Aubin is getting the start. A little competition in the crease is healthy, I say. I'm not going to rue the fact that the team had the goal tending solution in house. Yet.
-Kubina is rounding into form. He should help stabilize the back end by providing more time in the offensive zone, and a more physical presence on the right flank. We were given a tease earlier this season, and I hope we'll be seeing the Pavel that commanded huge FA dollars.
-Sundin is due for a monster game. His early demise is greatly exaggerated. Bum elbow and all, he can still take over a game.
It might be the holiday party drinks talking, but this string of losses can't go on much longer.
GO LEAFS GO
First period update: I don't think Tucker's non-goal was in, but if it had been called a goal, I think the video goal judges might have come to a different conclusion. Aubin's goofy footed catching glove/blocker set up looked like it wasn't covering any net. He's got to bounce back from the two excellent shots that beat him. He stoned Marty St.Louis in all alone, so hopefully he can build on that. Kaberle passed on a couple of shot opportunities with players around the net. He has to fire those pucks. Forget the pretty play. Ugly is what is needed. Tucker made a great defensive play late in the period, breaking up a stretch pass that would've been breakaway number two. Carlo went for a hip check at the blue line and almost cold cocked his head on a forward's hip. Easy buddy.
Second period update: What a period from Kilger and Peca! The veteran trio with Tucker bring the team back to tie on in-your-face hockey plays. First Tucker rips a slapper on the break, and Chad gets to the net and pots the rebound. Next, as a Gill penalty expires with under a minute to play, Kubina hacks the puck carrier on the back check, then fires a pass to a streaking Peca who passes just at the hash marks to Kilger on his left who one-times the puck up high past Holmqvist. (I have the SUN South feed, and the color guy's favorite word is "atrocious" to describe the non-call on Kubina. It's hard not to agree with him, but at this point, I've got my blinders crazy glued to my temples.)
I've got to agree with Maurice's time out and replacing Aubin. J.S. wasn't on his game. He's got to make at least one of those saves, though the give away on Richards' goal was responsible. (Boy, am I consistent.)
Come on boys. This is where you've got to have your best period of the season and get off the no comebacks after being down through the first period schneid.
Third period update: Wellwood hucks a pass from half-board to half-board, Sundin spins and fires high for Tucker to redirect the puck downward past Johan Sebastian Blach to take the lead on the powerplay. Then O'Neill steps up and scores after trailing the rush of Bates on the wing with the puck who feathered to Pohl on the doorstep. Beauty. Too bad for Kilger who rung one off the cross-bar going for the trick.
After taking the lead, the Leafs didn't go into a shell and their play was actually inspiring confidence. When St.Louis scored right after Mt.Torterella called time out, I got on my knees. Figuratively. But the team finally closed one out. Nice work.