Quinn keeps goals high

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

The Leafs are 0-for-3 so far in their stated goals to finish as high as possible in the Eastern Conference, get home ice in the playoffs and avoid the Ottawa Senators as long as possible.

Had the playoffs begun last night, the eighth-place Leafs would have been matched against the Sens' runaway freight train, starting in the Corel Centre. The Leafs head into their game in Ottawa on Saturday winless in three attempts versus the Sens, two by shootouts, one by blowout (8-0).

With the likelihood of some injuries hampering his team as well, coach Pat Quinn doesn't relish going there in this state. But he's not about to write off his team's chances this year, either.

"Ottawa is a terrific hockey club, but you don't start wishing for your (playoff) partner at this point," he said.

"You take what you get. We want to finish as high as we can. At the start of the season, we wanted to finish first and we're not playing for any other position.

"Clearly we're lagging behind a bit, but it doesn't mean we haven't set our sights for that and that we aren't going to work towards that."

A-BRACE-IVE BEHAVIOUR

Hopefully Eric Lindros' custom brace catches up to him here tomorrow and not after the club leaves for Ottawa.

Strange things can happen when such equipment is being delivered to an opposing rink as Leafs captain Mats Sundin can attest.

In a 1996 playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, the Leafs had to have a brace for Sundin's injured knee sent from California to the Blues' rink. It arrived in time for the game-day skate, but was somehow "misplaced" in the building and turned up at game time.

OLYMPIC 'QVIST

Goaltender Mikael Tellqvist knows he will be hard-pressed to dislodge New York Ranger starter Henrik Lundqvist from the No. 1 job for Team Sweden at the Winter Olympics.

"He's played (21) games, I've played eight, so they will probably look at that," Tellqvist said.

"I'm just happy to be in the NHL. You come from the minors and you know you have to (be a backup) for one or two years and maybe if you play well, be a No. 1."


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