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The Effort Was There

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

TEAM 1 2 3 OT F
Sabres 2 2 0   4
Maple Leafs 1 1 1   3


by Matthew Iaboni

January 6, 2006

After convincing wins twice this week over the Boston Bruins, the Maple Leafs couldn't keep the momentum going Saturday against Buffalo as the Sabres defeated Toronto 4-3.

Although the Leafs were down 2-0 less than five minutes into the game, head coach Paul Maurice didn't think his team got off to that bad a start.
Kris Newbury helped set up Carlo Colaiacovo's goal.
(Graig Abel Photography)

"This is going to be a hard sell but I thought we were alright," he said. "Two shots to the net, they're in. I think we came out the first two shifts, had a great chance early on. I don't think we sagged that much. Some things didn't come easy to us tonight but when we go back at that game, when we tear it apart we're going to find that we probably outchanced them."

Maurice wasn't alone in thinking that the Leafs might have deserved a better fate then the tough loss.

"We should have won the game, we had lots of chances but we didn't have any luck tonight. We had a couple of bad bounces," said Pavel Kubina who scored his first goal as a Maple Leaf.

Despite outshooting the Sabres 35-29 the Leafs could only get three past Martin Biron. The Leafs had one last chance late in the game but John Pohl's backhand hit the side of the net and the Leafs ran out of time.

"When the game was on the line he (Pohl) was on the ice," Maurice said. "We've won games on his competitiveness and speed and I had no problem with putting him out there."

On a night when the Leafs couldn't pick up their third straight win, Kris Newbury continued to impress as he threw his weight around, hustled to loose pucks and thanks to his hard work he had a few chances to almost score his third goal of his young NHL career.

Kubina continued to be encouraged by the play of many of the recent callups.

"We still have a lot of injuries up front but the guys who are coming up are playing well," Kubina said.

Newbury helped set up the Leafs' first goal as he worked the puck down low and found Carlo Colaiacovo who wristed home his third of the season.

Although he was having a very good offensive season with the Toronto Marlies (second in scoring), Newbury wasn't expected to provide a ton of offence for the Leafs when he was called up. But he now has put up four points in seven games.

Another player who played a very good game was Kubina who has in recent games been partnered with Tomas Kaberle.

"I just got my confidence back," he said. "I couldn't hit a soccer net before but I had never gone that long without scoring. I'm enjoying playing with Kabby (Tomas Kaberle) and I feel more comfortable."

Maurice has been pleased with the way that Kubina has turned his game around as of late.

"He and Tomas have played well together," the Leafs bench boss said. "I've taken note of the confidence factor but I think that goal will help him because he is hard on himself."

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