Don't count them out

, Last Updated: 2:28 PM ET


 The Maple Leafs were saying all the right things at practice yesterday and wasn't it getting a little tiresome.

 Just once, I'd like to go into a dressing room and see the captain of the team declare: "Man, we are so screwed.'"

 There was nothing of the sort yesterday.

 "We feel as good as you can feel when you're down two games to nothing," defenceman Ken Klee said.

 "We're a very happy bunch in here," Alexander Mogilny said. "Everything is great."

 Nothing the Maple Leafs have done during their first two games against the Philadelphia Flyers has convinced me they can't advance to Round 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

 One full day removed from an emotional seven-game win over Ottawa, the Leafs were flat in losing Game 1. They soundly outplayed the Flyers in Game 2, but poor special teams play and a missed call that let Donald Brashear bury Bryan McCabe before scoring was the difference in the game. The boys in New York watch the highlight shows, too. That play won't go uncalled again.

 The Leafs have used two of their "get out of jail free" cards earlier than they had hoped. Big deal.

 Yes, another unforeseen injury or an Ed Belfour meltdown over crease infractions would signal that the end was near.

 And yes, the Leafs face a must-win game tonight at home. Sort of like the Games 5 and 7 they won to beat Ottawa in Round 1. Must-win games come with the spring. Like the commercial says, "It's the most wonderful time of the year."

 Ah, but the Philadelphia Flyers are not the Ottawa Senators.

 Right you are, Grasshopper. The Senators are better.

 With the noteworthy exception of goal, where Robert Esche has been terrific, the Flyers can't hold a candle to the team the Leafs beat in the first round.

 Now ask yourself, as good as Esche has played, do you still want him in goal over Ed Belfour? Didn't think so.

 The Philadelphia defence looked porous through the first two periods as well as the dying moments of Game 2.

 While the cleverly named Blackhawk Down line of Tony Amonte, Jeremy Roenick and Alexei Zhamnov has been impressive, the remaining Philly forwards with the occasional exception of Brashear have been non-factors. John LeClair and Mark Recchi, two of the Flyers' long-standing weapons, have been conspicuously silent.

 The Leafs, meanwhile, seem to be reaching another gear. Mogilny nearly scored to tie the game in the final minute and he has been much closer to his usual form.

 "There's no frustration here," Mogilny said. "We've played two close games."

 The two three-game breaks built into the series will be of benefit to the Leafs who were battered badly during their seven-game win over Ottawa.

 Captain Mats Sundin will have two solid days of practice under him when he takes the ice for Game 3. That should manifest itself into more chances for Gary Roberts and, if he is shifted on to the No. 1 line, Mogilny.

 Portents of improved play were sprinkled over Game 2. Tom Kaberle competed all over the ice. Sundin ran into people. The Leafs' third defensive pairing of Aki Berg and Bryan Marchment acquitted itself well.

 Look, I've been wrong before. This whole buy low, sell high thing, for example, has flummoxed me for some time.

 Still, with Daniel Alfredsson gone someone has to make a prediction.

 Leafs 4, Flyers 2. Remember, you heard it here first.


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