Sturdy fourth line takin' care of business

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Just when you thought the Maple Leafs forward units were devoid of identity, here comes the TCB line.

That's Takin' Care of Business, as in Tie, Clarke and Ben, an effective fourth line with surnames Domi, Wilm and Ondrus.

"TCB? I like the sound of that handle," Wilm said yesterday, after they played another energizing role in a 5-4 shootout win over Boston.

"The trust factor is there between us. We all like to get in there and crash and bang."

Everyone on the team from coach Pat Quinn to captain Mats Sundin to goaltender Mikael Tellqvist has saluted the grinders for picking up flagging spirits at key junctures the past three or four games.

"You know what you're going to get -- hard work, some contact, the sort of work level you'd like all of your guys to exhibit," Quinn said. "That's leadership in a fashion."

Ondrus, a minor-league free agent, was called up from the Marlies at the start of what became a four-game Leafs' points streak.

"He comes and does what he does best and gives everyone a lift," Quinn said. "But to sustain it is tough. That's why some guys go back. Other guys such as (one-time fourth liner) Alexei Ponikarovsky learn how to do it."

PERFECT TIMING

Ondrus, the plain-talking Albertan, began throwing his weight around right away, not bothering to check sweater numbers for sacred cows. His timing was perfect, as Domi came off his first benching in six years on Saturday, anxious to show he still had life.

"Ben's a Canadian kid living his dream," Domi said. "We need everyone on board now. Every game is a playoff game for us."

Wilm, benched for parts of this season ahead of more deserving candidates for the press box, seems to be the perfect centre.

"We rely on each other to be aware defensively to make sure we don't get our third guy caught up ice," Wilm said. "It's something we want to keep up. Benny's done a good job getting in there and getting on the body. We've been able to roll our line (as opposed to spot duty) and get into the game."

After shunning fights most of this season, the 36-year-old Domi showed Bruins' Dan LaCouture he can still box during a Tuesday night scrap, Domi's first since Jan. 23.

Ondrus became embroiled in his own battle with ex-Leaf Travis Green.

"That's part of Ben's game," Wilm said. "I played with him in the minors. He knows his role. And another Westerner always makes a team better."


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