McCauley haunts Leafs

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

Alyn McCauley geared himself up for his return to the Air Canada Centre during the past few days by telling himself to just go out and have a good time.

He listened to the guy in the mirror.

In his first game in Toronto since a trade in March 2003 that sent him to the San Jose Sharks with Brad Boyes and a first-round pick for Owen Nolan, McCauley scored two goals including the game-winner in a 5-4 Sharks triumph.

"It was a lot of fun," said McCauley, who was named the second star.

"If there was a time to really contain (his excitement), it was at the beginning of the game. My legs were probably moving quicker than my brain was thinking but after the first period I felt very comfortable."

And that's when McCauley went to work. Playing in his second game this season on the wing, the 28-year-old buried a wrist shot from the slot on Ed Belfour at 8:51 of the second, tying the game 3-3. At 14:15 of the third, McCauley whacked in his own rebound during a 5-on-3 Sharks power play to put his club up 5-3.

"When I scored (his second goal) I did not think it was going to be the game-winning goal, because I thought we kind of had it in the bag," McCauley said. "It was nice to get the two points because that has eluded us in the past three weeks."

The Sharks won for the second time in two nights after losing 10 in a row. Not coincidentally, they were Joe Thornton's first two games with San Jose after being acquired from the Boston Bruins.

He had two assists last night after registering two assists in a 5-0 win in Buffalo against the Sabres on Friday night.

"It was nice to get these two games over with and I'm glad to go out west now," Thornton said.

"We'll see what happens for me out there."

After playing 17 of their first 26 on the road, the Sharks have four home games in a row starting Tuesday against the Atlanta Thrashers.

McCauley, who was popular among his Maple Leafs teammates, can't wait to get home.

His wife, Nicole, gave birth to the couple's second child, son Renn, on Sept. 26.

"Too much time on the road," McCauley said. "It has not been easy."

A native of Gananoque, Ont., McCauley has no misgivings about the trade. He was a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward the season after the deal.

"I enjoyed my time here as a Leaf and miss the guys and the organization, but I don't usually let myself fall into that train of thought because I have a team here in San Jose to help and be successful," McCauley said.


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