Leafs fall, get back up

MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

The recipe is simple enough for the Maple Leafs. Try. Fall down. Celebrate.

Maybe you saw Ken Klee last night, wiring a shot past Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward for the overtime winner. Klee would have been out of position for a rebound, seeing as he was on all fours.

Not to worry. He can celebrate sitting down.

The Maple Leafs, 5-4 winners last night, have won four in a row and sit at 4-1-0-2. Klee's first goal of the season came with the Leafs enjoying a 4-3 man advantage thanks to an errant stick belonging to Eric Staal that clipped Jason Allison.

The game-winner came with Klee and Bryan McCabe playing catch deep in the Carolina zone.

"We're looking to have one of us just have a good lane to bomb the puck," Klee said. "We're on the ladies tees there. We're just looking to pound it."

Fall down. Celebrate. It was that kind of a night for the Leafs, who were wonderful and lousy in just about the same measure.

The Leafs blew a 2-0 first-period lead and a 4-2 cushion in the third.

Welcome to the new NHL where the notion of a safe-lead is so 2002.

"It's tough. There's no easy games," Klee said. "We did the same thing. We've come back on teams."

"You can never sit back on a lead like in the past," Leafs netminder Ed Belfour said. "There's a lot more power plays and a lot more crashing of the nets. Anything can happen."

That anything includes a Rod Brind'Amour shorthanded breakaway a few seconds before the Klee goal.

"I just tried to stay patient and stay with him," Belfour said candidly.

There was plenty of good. The line of Alexander Steen, Matt Stajan and Kyle Wellwood probably was the best unit on the ice for the Leafs.

"We've been good," Stajan said. "We're high energy. It was nice to score another goal with our line out there."

Certainly, the rookie Steen, who scored his third goal, was terrific. "He was our best forward," coach Pat Quinn said. "I don't think there's any question."

Well maybe a little. Darcy Tucker showed his usual courage, notched a goal and battled for every square inch of ice.

With his two assists, McCabe now has 11 points in seven games.

Eric Lindros' goal, a snap shot five minutes into the third, was his sixth of the year. Lindros has scored in his past four games and in one memorable moment in the second, dropped down to block a shot.

Which brings us nicely to the bads.

Two pointless penalties by McCabe, including one in which he gave up on the play to argue about an interference penalty that has been called in every rink every night.

And a goofy second-period slash by Belak that set up a Brind'Amour power-play goal. Belak and Aki Berg were paired together through much of the game.

Hey, it's faster than hemlock.

Another night of pointless skating from Alexei Ponikarovsky and a doodlefest by Mariusz Czerkawski.

Put it all together and it's an overtime win.

"Sure, I fell down," Klee said, speaking for the group. "But two points is two points."


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