SUN Hockey Pool

4th line grinds it out

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

EDMONTON -- The National Hockey League has definitely improved its flash-and-dash factor, but the Maple Leafs still keep a Grind Line on call.

Coach Pat Quinn summoned it Friday in Calgary and last night in Edmonton, both one-goal games, a win and a loss, but only three total goals against.

Against the Flames, Clarke Wilm centred Wade Belak and Tie Domi, with Domi and first-liner Chad Kilger switching roles last night. The Wilm-Domi-Belak trio, with four combined goals in 2005-06, had steady work on Friday, while Quinn sat the farm club's leading scorer, John Pohl, and Mariusz Czerkawski in both games.

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The fourth unit had no more success beating Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff than the other three, but generated as many chances in the 1-0 loss.

"They put pressure on and that's the way they have to play," Quinn said. "We'd like to see them hold the puck a little bit longer once they do get it, but they had some strong shifts."

Belak began Friday worried about his place in the lineup. He was without a goal this year and knew Jason Allison was coming back after two weeks on the shelf.

"I didn't know what was going to happen," Belak said. "But it was nice to come west and play in front of friends and family.

"A line like that is nice to have. Every team has a line that's not looked upon to score, but to create energy, be smart in our end, be physical in their end and keep the puck low."


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