October 5, 2005
(TORONTO) -- The Leafs didn't have to wait long to find out if they liked the new shootout rules.
It left a sour taste in their collective mouths after suffering a 3-2 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators in Tuesday night's home opener.
Ed Belfour wasn't able to stop Dany Heatley and force the sudden-death penalty shot component after Eric Lindros and Jason Allison were unable to beat Dominik Hasek.
Daniel Alfredsson, who heard the Toronto faithful's best booing every time he touched the puck, scored the other shootout marker and tallied late in regulation to send it into overtime in the first place. Oh ... and he also got the Sens' other regulation goal. Maybe the booing isn't a good idea after all?
Lindros thought he sealed a 2-1 victory for the home side with just over a minute left in the third period, but some
miscommunication between Ed Belfour and his defensive tandem of Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle. The puck squirmed out to Alfredsson after a touch pass from Jason Spezza.
Now it is very feasible to think that if Mats Sundin had been available for the shootout he may have been able to bulge the twine behind the Dominator. Early in the first period the Captain was hit with a puck dangerously close to his eye and was forced to the dressing room for the evening.
"He's been checked out and released," said head coach Pat Quinn. "The eyeball itself was fine just the area around it. There's some blood in the area around the socket. I don't know what kind of timeframe he is looking at. We'll have to find that out tomorrow."
The fate of Sundin is probably in doubt for at least the next game when the Montreal Canadiens come to Air Canada Centre on Saturday (don't forget about the tailgate party starting at 3 p.m. and 54-40 playing outside after the game).
It wasn't only the loss of Sundin that hurt the Leafs chances. The powerplay could defintely use some fine tuning after going just 1-for-11.
"That's an area that we have to work on," said "O'Neill.
There is some good to come out of this difficult loss for the boys in blue.
Lindros was definitely on his game playing solidly from start to finish and drew praise from the coach because of it.
"I thought from shift-to-shift he was very good tonight. If that continues ... and I'm certain it will ... then we'll really
like what we have there," said Quinn.
Alex Steen and Matt Stajan played exceptionally well as a tandem on the penalty kill.
Jeff O'Neill fired 8 shots at the net and drove to the net with authority on more than one occasion.
Lots of positives, just no results.