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Leafs halt the Sabres / Avalanche deflate Canucks

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I think that sign should read: C.B.C., Cry Buffalo Cry!


***I know, I'm late with this post. But I went to a Medieval Party last night. Good times!***

Streak? What streak? The Sabres are human again, as the Leafs, of all teams, stopped their 'undefeated in regulation' streak in a 4-1 victory over the Sabres last night.
I think TSN said it best after last night's game when they said:

Paul Maurice's Toronto Maple Leafs are showing an appealing trait that may prove valuable as they try to grind out a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They play their best hockey just when it seems the most unlikely.

Isn't that the truth! The Leafs were gritty, quick, and defensively sound for the most part, and beat them at their own game, in a way.
Buffalo wasn't playing their A-game, either. I can't count how many odd-man rushes the Sabres gave up...it was uncharacteristic of them for sure.
Post game, Mats Sundin mentioned:
"For us, we're still looking for an identity and consistency to be a good team in this league. I thought tonight we were a good team. It's been up and down for us lately, so hopefully this is a step in the right direction for this club."

The Leafs are not consistent this year at all, but they are still good enough to be in 4th place in the East.
*Mats Sundin had 2 goals and 1 assist.
*Alexei Ponikarovsky is emerging this year, and recorded 2 assists.
*Ian White played a much improved defensive game. He played 21 minutes, magnificently set up Sundin in the 3rd, and really looked like Brian Leetch out there, except for a lack of hip checks that Leetch was known for!
*Darcy Tucker scored another goal tonight, and now has 10 goals on the season. Can you say: big payday is inevitable?

BOX SCORE




"Honestly, McCreary, I don't even know what 'boarding' is! I've never done that before!"


Naslund's boarding call near the end of the 3rd with Luongo pulled and the score 3-2 Avalanche was the icing on the frustrating cake in this one. The Avalanche should have lost.
The Canucks outshot the Avs 38-20, but couldn't put them away. Jose Theodore is making me look stupid, by chance, because ever since I posted that Photoshop image of him hanging himself, he has improved greatly. Last night was an exceptional game by Theodore, as he looked like his old Calder/Hart self.
Roberto Luongo, once again, did not look like a $6 million goalie. It was playing against Luongo that motivated Theodore.

"Every time you play one of the good goalies, you know you're going to have to bring your game up a level," Theodore said. "He's approaching it the same way. We both want to win and we both take a lot of pride in trying to be the best out there. Every time you play against top goalies, that's the way you approach it."


I still think Luongo is used to alot more shots coming his way to stay on his game, much like Curtis Joseph. But the Canucks play so well in front of him defensively, and really need Bobby to make the clutch saves on a more consistent basis.
This game was frustrating to watch. Twice the Canucks were up by a goal and twice the Avalanche came back. The winning goal by Andrew Brunette (his 2nd of the game)early in the 3rd period was the result of a Canuck player not tipping the puck out of their zone past an Avalanche player, and Sakic feeding Brunette (who was still deep in the Nucks' zone) a breakaway pass. Hey! Look at that! Brunette is a left handed shot who faked Luongo out and buried a backhander past the down and out goalie! Deja-vu.
A final negative piece of input....the Canucks are now in 8th spot in the West. So if Calgary or Edmonton, who are in 9th and 12th place, ever get rolling..... Let's just say that now the pressure is on the Canucks, with a tough home stand coming up this week against Dallas and Anaheim. They will play Calgary on Saturday, and then Detroit next Tuesday, all home games.
On a very positive note, the Canucks are never down and out in these games. They always have a chance to win, and are not getting blown out. Vigneault is doing a fine job. The Canucks need more players to step up and start scoring, to support this style of play.
In the absence of Sami Salo, Alexander Edler stepped in a played a super game on defence. He looked like he should stick with the big league. At one point the Canucks had 5 Swedes on the ice: Sedins, Naslund, Ohlund, and Edler. Unreal. Edler looked pretty cozy with Ohlund.

Zanstorm's "I hate Jan Bulis" meter:
9.5/10

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