Quinn: 'Not finished yet'

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

An argument can be made that the Leafs are playing better because the playoff pressure is squarely upon them or the unlikelihood of passing so many teams to qualify has made them loosen up.

"Some blossom and the Morning Glories come out," coach Pat Quinn said of all players who do better with the post-season weight off of their shoulders.

"But in Toronto, something is always happening (as a distraction). These young men are not finished yet and they won't be until the numbers (for a playoff spot) stop adding up."

Until their lopsided victory over the Buffalo Sabres last night, the Leafs had little use for the National Hockey League's new scheduling quirk with back-to-back home games against divisional opponents.

"We've done it twice now and we haven't won yet," Quinn said of losing two in Ottawa and two in Montreal.

The combined score in those debacles was 22-6, split 11-3 in both series. Prior to this season, the Leafs most recently had made consecutive appearances in the same venue back in 1965 at the old Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.

APRIL ADVENTURES

In previous years, the arrival of April meant the Leafs went into playoff lockdown, restricting their public appearances and autograph sessions.

"Usually, we'd be figuring out what we're going to do in the playoffs (with regard to scouting reports), but this year, we're just trying to get in," defenceman Wade Belak said.

"But if we play (the way) we did the last few games, it'll be close. Every game from here on in is a playoff game. We have to win at least (seven of nine) and hope some of the teams in front of us go for a skid. It doesn't look that way right now, but we'll see.

"The community stuff still kind of goes on hold. But I wouldn't say my home life is any easier. I've had two kids since the last time we were in the playoffs. Game day is when I get my peace and quiet now."

IN THE HOUSE

Clarke Wilm's father Lorne, a grain farmer from Saskatchewan, took in last night's game, as did actor Paul Giamatti, who was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Cinderella Man.


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