SUN Hockey Pool

Points to ponder on shootouts

LANCE HORNBY,QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 AM ET

TORONTO - On Friday, Ron Wilson was saying that shootouts aren’t really losses in his book.

But you didn’t see much post-game evidence of mirth for the one point the Leafs ended up with on Saturday.

A thorn in the side of the Leafs since it was introduced in 2005, Toronto is now 20-31 in the tiebreakers, dropping two in a row this week. Not the end of the world if you’re the Detroit Red Wings, but the Leafs have to win as many as they lose if they are serious about getting enough playoff points tucked away.

“When you come from behind, tie a team and lose in the shootout, it feels better,” Wilson clarified after the 3-2 loss to the Sabres, a game his team led by two.

On Wednesday in Washington, Toronto came back from 3-1 and survived the Caps’ overtime power play and so few expected MVP Alex Ovechkin would miss on Jonas Gustavsson with the game on the line. Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed the first Sabre to beat him, then stiffened to take it to the fifth round before Tyler Ennis won it.

“I don’t dislike them, I think they’re entertaining,” Giguere said as he fell to 1-3 as a Leaf in shootouts. “I just wish I was better at them.

“It’s the way it is. It seems every year that guys are getting better, with more speed and more skill coming at you. It’s a littler harder every year. But we all have to face them and I will keep working at them.”

Giguere also has been beaten on a couple of penalty shots this year.

Meanwhile, checker John Mitchell was the only Leaf to get a puck past Jhonas Enroth in the Buffalo net where big guns like Phil Kessel failed. The Leafs were 0-for-3 in Washington. Mitchell is now 4-for-6 in his career, with two previous game winners.

”I’m glad I got the opportunity,” Mitchell said. “I’ve got a (braking) move I’ve kind of set down and laid as my foundation for my shootout.

“(Enroth) is a rookie goalie and I used that on him because he’s never seen it before. I thought a deke going side to side would work. We had a couple of guys who came in and made one quick move and shot, but he moves quickly to get his body in front of it.”


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