Those sin-bin blues

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:18 PM ET

 The Maple Leafs and Senators posted a combined 155 power-play goals this season, so it's no shock that half of Thursday's strikes by the teams came with the man advantage.

 But if discipline equals staying out of the box, then the hyperactive Leafs have the most to lose in this series.

  "You want to be physical and emotional, but make sure you don't cross the line," Leafs winger Gary Roberts said yesterday. "At playoff time, the referees seem to put the whistle away and let you play more. But (Thursday) night was definitely not the case. So if you want to play on the edge, you have to aware of what they're calling."

 Toronto players were still grumbling about a slashing call on Bryan McCabe that was only hard enough to break Marian Hossa's faulty composite stick. But the Leafs had been warned by officials before the series that no exceptions would be made.

 But no matter how the Leafs came to have two men in the box, Wade Redden and Marian Hossa needed just 38 seconds for a shock-and-awe, two-goal show that changed the complexion of the game. The two are part of Ottawa's league-leading power play.

 "When you go down 5-on-3, there are guys such as Redden hammering the puck and Radek Bonk in front of the net screening," Tom Fitzgerald said.

 Toronto's penalty killing unit is one of the most over-worked in the league as the miscreant Leafs were short 386 times in the regular season to Ottawa's 347. But Fitzgerald says the Leafs won't alter their conservative four-man box.

 "We prefer to protect the middle area," he said. "We'll let them shoot from the outside and nine out of 10 times, Eddie Belfour will make those stops. But when we give them eight (good) chances as we did in the first game, they're going to score.

 "You want to contain them, take away some of their options and for the most part we did that. You can count how many good scoring chances they had on one hand, but they scored on two of them."

 The Sens must also respect Toronto's power-play unit, ranked fifth overall and with just five goals less than their 80. The restructured point combo of Bryan McCabe and Brian Leetch has 11 goals in 14 games since Leetch arrived.


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