Call it Swede revenge.
The last time netminder Mikael Tellqvist played Edmonton, in the AHL last season during the lockout, Road Runners centre Jarret Stoll steamrolled into his crease and knocked him out of the Baby Leafs lineup with a concussion.
St. John's coach Doug Shedden sent a tape to the league office, hoping for supplementary discipline, but none came. And that was that.
Until last night.
Tellqvist, more concerned with the here and now than that particular past, exacted his vengeance on Stoll's whole team, frustrating them into defeat with a sensational 36-save effort.
"We had terrific goaltending tonight, and that was the difference,'' said Toronto coach Pat Quinn, who knows the Oilers deserved better, having outshot the visitors 38-19. "The other team had a lot more chances to score than we did and our goaltender got us some points tonight.''
Eddie Belfour's backup, drafted 70th overall in 2000, improved to 6-3-1 on the season and improved an already impressive .919 save percentage by making the Oilers look like they had child-proof locks on their hockey sticks.
He had the Leafs up 2-0 when they were trailing 14-5 in shots and up 3-1 when it was 27-12.
"He stole one for us, he was great,'' said former Oiler Chad Kilger, whose third period goal stood up as the winner. "He held us in there; we were pretty dead in the second period.''
Tellqvist was only beaten twice, from close range by Shawn Horcoff, who could have had four for all the chances he had, and by a fluke that banked off the end boards, banked off the back of his skate and into the net. Then, with the score 3-2, he robbed Jason Smith from point blank range to preserve the lead and the win.
"The first 10 minutes they had a few good scoring chances, but there were a lot of shots from the outside, they were letting me feel the puck,'' said the Swedish Olympic backup, who's hoping to make a run at Ranger Henrik Lundqvist's starting job. "We knew they were going to come, they're a fast skating hockey club, especially on this ice we knew they were going to come hard and we were ready for them.''
Ready to the tune of being outshot 15-6, but they led 2-0 after 40 nonetheless.
"We have a lot more back-to-backs, so he'll probably play a lot more often than would ordinarily happen with a guy who's a backup to Belfour,'' said Quinn. "That's good. He's been developing and improving all the time. He's the real deal.''
The Leafs are up to their armpits in keepers, because behind Belfour and Tellqvist is World Junior keeper Justin Pogge.
RIB CHECK TIME: Castor, Alberta's Darcy Tucker, who almost didn't play because of a rib injury, dressed at the last minute, took the ceremonial faceoff, which his father was part of, and then scored the second goal of the game en route to 18:26 of ice time.
"That's what Darcy is,'' said Quinn. "He's a warrior. I don't mean to use that term flippantly, but he'll show up. He's got great heart and he's been a terrific leader for our team. He leads by example. He plays hurt. I wasn't even going to play him, but I changed my mind late in the day and he made me look pretty good.''