One of the first things Mikael Tellqvist did after the Maple Leafs' 5-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning was track down goalie coach Steve McKichan to talk about the one that got away.
Tellqvist was not happy that Ruslan Fedotenko beat him from a sharp angle for Tampa's only goal.
"There's never a hint of 'It wasn't my fault' with him," McKichan said yesterday. "There are no excuses in it for him. He wished he approached that goal differently and the next time he will."
Tellqvist otherwise would have had his second NHL shutout.
"You strive for perfection and I want to make that save the next time," the 26-year-old Swede said. "It squeaked through and it is unfortunate it went in."
What has impressed McKichan the more he has come to know Tellqvist is the goalie's positive attitude. Tellqvist wants to play in every game, but he is the not the type to go into a snit if his reward for nearly blanking the defending Stanley Cup champions is watching Ed Belfour start against the Boston Bruins tomorrow. However, Leafs coach Pat Quinn said it was not automatic that Belfour would start versus Boston.
While there has been some overly optimistic talk this winter that prospects Justin Pogge or Tuukka Rask one day will supplant Belfour as the No. 1 guy, those in the Leafs organization are confident it can be Tellqvist. If he continues to play like he did on Saturday, that could come sooner.
Overall, Tellqvist is 7-6-2 with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
"He is in a good spot to someday have that No. 1 position," Quinn said. "I think that is what he has to strive for. There are times when you want to give him more games, and sometimes we haven't done that."