O'Neill in a major rut

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Mats Sundin's three-game pointless slump is his longest since he was blanked for the first five games of the 2003-04 season.

But while the captain might lose his team scoring title to defenceman Bryan McCabe this season, the Leafs should be more worried about winger Jeff O'Neill. He has not made the scoresheet in 16 of the past 18 games. After suffering from lingering shoulder pain earlier in the year, he has been unable to find the range with his once lethal shot.

He was one of many frustrated Leafs after Tuesday's game, in which they dominated the Canucks, but couldn't beat much maligned backup Alex Auld more than three times.

"Unfortunately, in this business, good (team) efforts don't really account for that much," O'Neill said. "But we're developing some consistency in our play. If we keep it up, we'll win a few games.

"I don't know what all the talk about (Auld) is in this market, but he'll hold the fort here until the other guy (the injured Dan Cloutier) comes back."

CHAD BAD NEWS FOR COYOTES?

Ten years ago, Chad Kilger was traded by the Phoenix Coyotes to Chicago in a non-descript deal and the Desert Dogs probably haven't thought much about him since.

But you can bet they'll be giving him some extra attention in team meetings leading up to Saturday, now that Kilger is the hottest shooting Leaf with four goals in as many games.

Kilger, who opened Tuesday's scoring with a short-handed goal, is modest about his eight goals this year and what could be a career-high 15 by April.

"I had some opportunities (against Vancouver) that I didn't bury, so who knows the way things go?" he said. "That's hockey. I just try to take advantage of the same opportunity every time I'm out there. It could be one goal, it could be five."

WEST COAST CHIC

Leafs coach Pat Quinn must have thought he'd seen a ghost on Tuesday when his old Canucks team came out in their vintage gold and green sweaters, with the old hockey stick-in-a-rink logo.

But new Canucks winger Anson Carter can't quite figure out what the old jerseys were supposed to convey.

"They remind me of a boutique hotel," Carter said when he first wore it this year. "Simple furniture and not a lot on the walls."


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