McCabe's silent partner

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

Tomas Kaberle to Bryan McCabe is not quite like Joe Montana to Jerry Rice but in a few seasons, who knows?

Montana to Rice was a thing of beauty in the hey-day of the San Francisco 49ers and these days in Leafland, the Kaberle to McCabe pass isn't too shabby either.

Last night Kaberle and McCabe were at their best, Kaberle floating the pass across and McCabe banging it home.

NOTHING WITHOUT THE OTHER

Their dance routine, their 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' ballet, turned out to be the difference as the Leafs nudged by the dangerous Rangers by a 2-1 margin.

It was two beautiful passes by Kaberle, two bullets by McCabe and the one is nothing without the other.

"I'm fortunate to play with him," McCabe said of his defence partner. "He always hits the right spot, it's always the right pace. He gives me the opportunity to shoot the puck."

While it's McCabe who blooms in the spotlight, Kaberle is content to dance in the shadows.

It's Kaberle who sets it all in motion and his passes aren't a feat of circumstance but come honed from constant practice and repetition.

"It's something I probably got from practising with my dad and my brother," Kaberle said of his passing prowess. "It's been something I've been practising since I've been a little kid. I'd rather set-up plays than shoot and McCabe knows it and he's got a really good shot.

"When I see somebody open I just try to give it (the puck) right in between their legs, right in the middle and they can get good shots out of it.

"For sure we practise it. Sometimes it doesn't work but it worked tonight and it was a big two points for us."

Timing is everything on the play. If Kaberle's pass is too hard or too soft it messes with McCabe's balance and accuracy.

"I'm trying to do it that way (like he did last night)," said Kaberle, who now has 13 assists on the season. "Sometimes the puck jumps when there's something on the ice or it's a little snowy.

"But it worked good today and it definitely has to be the right timing too."

On nights like these, it's music to the Leafs' ears.


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