Schedule helps Quinn

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Pat Quinn isn't a fan of back-to-back games on the road, even if they are played in sunny Florida.

But in this week's case, playing the Panthers and Lightning could offer the Maple Leafs coach a way out of his tricky goaltending conundrum.

Quinn simply can split the starts between Ed Belfour and Mikael Tellqvist as he often does when the schedule jams up, and avoid hurting Belfour's feelings after turning to Tellqvist for a marquee start on Saturday against Montreal.

"I'm not that far along yet," Quinn said when asked how he will divvy the work in goal this week. "We're hoping to get some good play in there, but we're finding ways to shoot ourselves in the foot. So we'll figure that out as we approach each day."

On Saturday, Tellqvist was purring along with a light workload and a one-goal win in sight when the Habs erupted for two goals in 35 seconds and later won 4-3 in overtime on a power-play goal.

Tellqvist earned the Leafs' most recent win, on Jan. 7 in Edmonton, while Belfour is 0-6 since a decision over Pittsburgh on Jan. 2.

CROWD-PLEASER

Darcy Tucker's post-goal celebration on Saturday bordered on WWE theatrics as he marked his return to the lineup with his club-high 19th of the season. He did a little dance routine and then acknowledged the 19,541 fans at the Air Canada Centre.

"It wasn't relief about scoring, it was excitement about getting a lead and trying to help win a game," Tucker said yesterday.

"You want to give some excitement, not only to the guys on the bench, but to our fans to get them in the game. I thought we played a pretty sound game, giving up just 11 or 12 shots (up to the 10:40 mark of the third period). Maybe we were a little bit cautious with the lead."

LOOSE LEAFS

Toronto is two losses away from tying the team record for consecutive defeats, set in its Stanley Cup year of 1966-67. Right now, the eight losses are a 10-year worst ... Quinn turned 63 yesterday, but planned to keep party plans "simple" tonight in Sunrise, Fla. "We're staying out on the highway, right next to the swamps," he said. "Maybe, I'll go out and catch a few gators and fry them."


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