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Leafs Fight Through Adversity

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs



by Matthew Iaboni

October 9, 2006

(TORONTO) -- This is not a recording. The Maple Leafs are struggling to find the back of the net.. After scoring only three goals on 38 shots Saturday, the Leafs scored only two goals on 48 shots on Monday but it was enough for the win.
Hal Gill will be playing more if Pavel Kubina is out for a while.
(Getty Images/NHLI)

"(Alex) Auld played well, he didn't give up many rebounds and it feels great to get the first win at home," said Michael Peca.

Toronto had numerous chances in the first period to put Florida away. Two posts and two pucks that were just stopped before crossing the line prevented the Leafs from taking a hold of the game.

It didn't get much better in the second for the Blue and White. With the Leafs shorthanded, Bryan McCabe fed a streaking Alexei Ponikarovsky but Auld made a great pad save.

Ponikarovsky's misery would continue as he had had four shots in the second alone and six on the night as he looks for his first goal of the season.

The Panthers netminder was phenomenal as he made 20 saves in the second period! The 20 shots the Leafs had in the second were more than the Panthers total after two periods.

What is evident early in the season is that the Maple Leafs are showing a great work ethic, speed and are showing they won't give up.

"The more we can be consistent, with the work ethic, we are going to be disciplined and if we can sustain fore checks we will draw penalties," Peca said. "We have to roll four lines and six defencemen and our character is starting to develop here at practice and during the games."

Maple Leafs head coach Paul Maurice again liked the way his team performed on Monday and feels that eventually the goals will start to come.

"I liked that shot mentality, there guy made some great saves," Maurice said. "Some nights you are going to get the 6-0 in Ottawa and some nights you are going to get nights like this were you struggle to score."

Many of the players agreed and acknowledged that Auld was outstanding as he made many game saving saves.

"It was pretty frustrating," Peca said. "We tried to stay patient and when they scored we got off our game a little bit but Kyle (Wellwood) got us back in rhythm."

On a night when Auld received all the recognition, it was a very tough game for Andrew Raycroft who turned aside 24 shots.

"I thought he had a mentally more challenging game no question about that," Maurice said. "That's a tough game to play, go long stretches without anything, then the 5 on 3, a breakaway and then the shootout. He showed why we have such faith in him."

Even with the win, the Leafs celebration was put on hold when Pavel Kubina had to leave the game late in the third period after colliding with Todd Bertuzzi.

"We will get Pavel Kubina tested tomorrow and we will know in a couple of days," Maurice said.

The Leafs bench boss also gave an update on three injured Leafs blueliners.

"Brendan (Bell) skated today and is the closest, then Staffan (Kronwall) and then Carlo (Colaiacovo) in that order," Maurice said as he faces another potential loss on the blueline.
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