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Surprise Start for Telly

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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by Matthew Iaboni

November 18, 2006

(TORONTO) -- With No. 1 netminder Andrew Raycroft out of the lineup with a groin injury and with J.S. Aubin out with the flu, Mikael Tellqvist was the surprise starter for the Maple Leafs Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.
The Leafs couldn't escape the Devils all night long.
(Graig Abel Photography)


It was Tellqvist's first NHL regular-season action in 2006-07 but he was able to stay sharp when he was sent down to the AHL Toronto Marlies for a conditioning stint that lasted three games. He posted a 2-1 record with a 3.95 goals against average.

Tellqvist wasn't tested that often in Saturday's contest. He faced only three shots in the first and by the halfway mark of the second it was a total of six.

Tellqvist was pleased with the way he performed.

"I thought I played pretty good," he said. "It's been a while since I played a game and my finger held up. I didn't expect to play tonight but I didn't think too much about it. It's been a while since I played but it was too bad not to get a win."

His teammates were disappointed that they couldn't get the win for their young goalie.

"I think Telly (Mikael Tellqvist) did a great job on such short notice," Darcy Tucker said. "He's a great kid and I thought he played outstanding and it's too bad we couldn't get the win for him."

Head coach Paul Maurice explained how Tellqvist started Saturday's game.

"J.S. (Aubin) after the skate didn't feel very good with flu like symptoms. We said fine go home and see how you feel when you come back. When he came back he felt worse," Maurice said. "There was no point sitting out there and breathing on everybody."

Maurice did like the way Tellqvist played on such short notice.

"He played especially well. He had three shots in the first and he made some nice saves when our game had to open up," said Maurice.

The Leafs weren't able to get their speed game going as the Devils were able to slow the Blue and White down. In past games when this has occurred, the Leafs were able to capitalize on the power play. New Jersey did an excellent job of staying out of the box taking just two minor penalties in the game.

"Our offence for us is showing signs of complacency, we've scored one goal five on five in almost six periods of hockey," Maurice noted. "The two teams that we just played have played very defensive. We had to score in the first and we didn't get one."

The Leaf players agreed with the bench boss.

"We know they play strong defensively and you have to try and dump it in and that's what we tried to do all night long but we couldn't capitalize," said Alexei Ponikarovsky. 

One area that is a concern for the Leafs is that they have scored only two goals in the last two games but Maurice believes the Leafs can still find a way to score in the absence of captain Mats Sundin.

"I expect the group that we have to score goals," he said. "We're not drawing penalties in the last two games. For me we're not quick with our hands. We didn't get it off fast enough but we will get that back, get them to go to the net."

The Leafs have a chance to rebound Monday when they host the New York Islanders.
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