by John McCauley
March 11, 2004
(TORONTO) -- Trevor Kidd knew all eyes would be on him and it didn't feel good.
The Leafs' backup goaltender got the surprise start in place of Ed Belfour Thursday night and he didn't particularly endear himself to fans with his play.
Kidd allowed three goals on 17 shots while his counterparts stopped 43 of 45 fired their way in a 3-2 Maple Leafs loss at Air Canada Centre. J.S. Aubin stopped 11 of 12 shots in the first period before Sebastein Aubin took over for the second and third, stopping a whopping 33 of 34 blasts.
|Francis is just getting his feet wet in T.O.. |
(Graig Abel Photography)
Lofty heights for Kidd to measure up to especially when his team abandoned defensive assignments on all three plays. Giving up an goal early in the game didn't help the nervousness Kidd was feeling. He allowed two goals on three shots after an early goal in the second. Needless to say he wasn't busy.
It was Kidd's first start since Feb. 17 vs. Boston. and the last thing he needed was long periods of time without facing rubber. Combine the lack of activity with a large segment of fans giving Kidd the "Bronx Cheer" every time he stopped the puck didn't make for an easy night.
Kidd didn't talk with the media after his third straight loss.
Head coach Pat Quinn didn't place the blame on his goaltender, who suffered through months of rumours about the Leafs bringing in a backup goalie at the deadline.
"The kind of bonehead plays we made it would have been a challenge for anybody," Quinn said. "We can't have those things happen at this time of the year.
"We carried the play all night long and made three poor plays to give up goals."
The defensive pairing of Tomas Kaberle and Karel Pilar were on the ice for two of the Penguins goals, but Quinn pointed to missed assignments by forwards as the biggest contributor to the loss.
"You don't play it soft and let men go. We can't have those things happen at this time of the year," Quinn said.
Ron Francis impressed with his faceoff prowess in his Leaf debut winning at a 68 per cent clip. He was flanked by Matt Stajan and Owen Nolan. The line looked good, but isn't likely to stay together long with Darcy Tucker returning either Saturday night in Montreal or early next week.
"I think (Francis) is going to fit in fine with us," Quinn said.