Devils-Maple Leafs Preview
GAME: New Jersey Devils (20-10-9-1) at Toronto Maple Leafs (23-9-8-3).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are angry. The New Jersey Devils are frustrated.
One of the teams is likely to feel a lot worse after they meet at the Air
Nothing went right for the Eastern Conference's top team Thursday as
visiting Ottawa blitzed Toronto for five first-period goals in an eventual 7-1
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson broke his stick midway through the third
period and faked throwing it in the stands, obviously poking fun at Toronto's
Mats Sundin, who was suspended one game Wednesday for throwing his broken stick
into the crowd during a 2-1 win over Nashville on Tuesday.
Toronto enforcer Tie Domi pointed at Alfredsson after the incident, and
Alfredsson's actions enraged Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn.
"If you're going to try and show somebody up you better be ready to pay the
price down the line," Quinn said.
The Maple Leafs hadn't allowed five goals in a period since the third period
of a 6-4 loss to Chicago on Feb. 25, 2001.
The injury-plagued Maple Leafs were missing seven of their best players,
including Sundin, goalie Ed Belfour, forwards Alexander Mogilny and Owen Nolan
and defenseman Tomas Kaberle.
Belfour is day-to-day with a groin injury, Mogilny will likely miss another
six weeks after having hip surgery on Nov. 26 and Nolan is out indefinitely
after having laser eye surgery on Monday to repair a torn retina. Kaberle is
still suffering from a shoulder injury.
The Leafs, who are 2-3-2 since their 16-game point streak ended with a 3-1
loss to the New York Islanders on Dec. 27, received some good news on Friday as
Quinn was named coach of the Eastern Conference team in next month's NHL
Despite a closed-door meeting and tirade from coach Pat Burns following
their 4-2 loss to lowly Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the Devils failed to respond
against Tampa Bay on Friday, losing 4-1 at home.
The defending Stanley Cup champions have won just one of their last six
"I think we've past the stage where we think we are going to get over it,"
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "I think it's important for us to
realize we are not doing well. We're going to get out of it eventually, but we
don't want it to drag on too long."
Defenseman Scott Stevens sat out Friday's game and remains day-to-day with