Leaf's return double shiner

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 5:19 PM ET

 Two black eyes were worth the price of one big victory in Darcy Tucker's personal scoreboard.

 Looking like the poster boy for playoff hockey after the game, Tucker returned from the injured list to inspire forwards Mats Sundin and Gary Roberts last night. As expected, he had a distracting effect on the Senators in a Game 2 the Maple Leafs had to win.

  "This is part of the game," Tucker said, as red and blue welts swelled around his eyes. "It's a fun time of year. I'll be using a lot of ice bags (last night)."

 Roberts scored twice during a 2-0 win over the Ottawa Senators and cited Tucker's play as a reason all the Leafs had more jump.

 "I was surprised to be on the line I was, but the first game back, you go on adrenalin," Tucker said.

 He picked up his first shiner early in the game. He'd already had an eventful first period, going hell bent for leather into the corner of the Sens zone after a puck and emerged sans helmet after a mad scramble for the puck with Vaclav Varada. He also had a staring contest with 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara, but wasn't so lucky when Ottawa defenceman Brian Pothier caught him with an elbow.

 The second shiner occurred when his face was planted into the dasher board during a forechecking foray later in the game. Tucker had missed 14 games with an abdominal pull that had caused him some groin problems. But that and the facial injury don't seem to be enough to sideline him for Game 3.

 "The next 24 hours will be important to see how (the abdomen) responds," he said. "Right now, it's okay."

 Tucker joined defenceman Ken Klee in returning to the lineup last night. Sometimes it seems coach Pat Quinn is being overly cautious with his injured players, but he insisted there's good reason to exercise caution.

 SOME FIB

 He has coached a team that has been ravaged by injuries the past two playoffs and sometimes he wonders if he's getting truthful answers from players who will do anything to keep their lineup spot.

 "Some fib to you," Quinn said. "They just want to play so much they want to put themselves at risk and want to put the team at risk. That's the part that you as coach have to weigh as well, make sure that (health) risk is not big on the individual and would result in hurting the team. Especially if we hope to go a long way in the playoffs, which we all do."


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