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Just not the Leafs night

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by Matt Akler

Sometimes it's just not your night.

After two impressive victories, the Leafs looked flat through most of Saturday's 5-2 loss to St. Louis. Some sloppy work by Toronto in its own end helped the previously winless Blues look like the Stanley Cup contenders they purport to be.

"We were just out of synch and weren't doing the little things to be successful," said Darcy Tucker. "We didn't start good, got behind early and gave them too many chances."

The day before the contest coach Pat Quinn indicated his pleasure with his team's recent defensive efforts in keeping a low shot total against Curtis Joseph.

Continuing that trend with only three shots fired on net in the first period, you would think Quinn would have been especially gleeful. The only problem was that two of those slipped past Joseph to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

"You don't fall behind on a good team like that," Joseph said. "They were good tonight and we weren't so good. It humbles you definitely when you lose. I'd like to win every game but when you lose you get lessons. Hopefully you learn from those lessons and don't make the same mistakes twice."

Midway through the second, Cory Cross stumbled to the ice while backpedaling at his own blueline, allowing a break-in on Joseph. After smartly getting back in the play, the Leafs defenceman cross-checked one of the Blues parked in the crease and drew a two-minute penalty. During the power play, Doug Weight snapped a shot into the cage for a 3-0 lead.

Later in the frame Joseph misplayed a puck behind the net due to what he called a "miscommunication" with one of his defenceman. St. Louis winger Mark Rycroft recovered the loose disc and fed a streaking Cory Stillman who tapped it into the open net.

If the Leafs were partly responsible for their early deficit, they did have accomplices, at least in the minds of the sold-out Air Canada Centre crowd. After a questionable holding penalty against Gary Roberts negated a third-period Toronto power play, the fans immediately and loudly started a crystal clear chant of "Fraser sucks!" in reference to referee Kerry Fraser. His striped crew continued to be the target of derision with a series of Leaf penalties through the remainder of the game.

"We got a little frustrated with some calls that, in our opinion, were certainly questionable, so instead of concentrating on coming back, we were concentrating on what was a penalty and what wasn't," Quinn noted.

Joseph described the evening best when he simply stated, "I don't know what it was but we didn't have it tonight. It wasn't meant to be."

In other words, sometimes it's just not your night.

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