Khavanov hurts knee blocking shot

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

With defenceman Staffan Kronwall coming off a knee injury, the last thing the Maple Leafs needed to see was Alexander Khavanov being helped to the dressing room last night in a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.

The Russian went down in a heap when an innocent looking point shot banked off his knee in the third period. He has been one of the club's best shot blockers of late.

"I don't have a full report," coach Pat Quinn said after the game. "I guess he got hit on the inside of the knee, one of those funny bone hits I suppose, that kind of kills the feeling."

Kronwall is preparing to come back next week from his own knee injury and there has been debate whether to demote him or Carlo Colaiacovo to the Marlies. But the latter was one of the Leafs' better blueliners last night. With the game on the line in the third and Ed Belfour pulled, Quinn used the 22-year-old in search of the tying goal.

"It was less what he was doing and more what our other (veteran) guys weren't doing," Quinn said. "For the kind of checking the Stars do, for a defenceman with a little bit of skating ability, if encouraged to use it, there's lots of room to play.

"Some of our other guys weren't and in the end (assistant coach Rick Ley) decided to make some changes and give him more ice time because he can skate."

The Leafs also can employ Wade Belak on defence in a pinch.

The game's first star was Dallas defenceman Sergei Zubov, who had a game high 29 minutes and 20 seconds of ice time.

It was a milestone evening for Stars captain Mike Modano, whose assist on Jere Lehtinen's winning goal was his 1,132nd, pulling him ahead of Jeremy Roenick for the second-most points among U.S. born players.

TUG-OF-WAR

"I've taken the odd peek at that," Modano said. "Jeremy and I have had a silent tug-of-war going on. He's a great guy and I wanted to enjoy sharing that streak with him. He's held it a long time, with a couple of hundred-point years in Chicago. As I've got older, with good guys around me, I've been able to chip away at it."

Next and final rung on the ladder for Modano is one-time Leaf Phil Housley's 1,232 points.

"I'm 100 away and hopefully, I can get that next year," Modano said.


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