In Aubin they trust?

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Two weeks ago, had Jean-Sebastien Aubin been dinged in practice, few Maple Leafs wouldn't have cared that much to stop and check his condition.

But when their late-season lucky charm dropped to the ice in pain yesterday morning at the Wachovia Center, proceedings came to a quick halt, with trainer Chris Davie hopping over the boards. Aubin had taken a puck near his throat, but after a few moments to catch his breath -- and get the offending disc dislodged from his gear -- he waved off Davie and resumed his duties.

Aubin has waited too long for another chance in the National Hockey League to make a fuss about bumps and bruises. Last night's start against the Flyers was his seventh consecutive game, having not lost in regulation beforehand (4-0-2).

"I'm surprised, but things have worked out pretty good," Aubin said. "You have to take chances once in awhile and (good) things can happen."

Aubin was referring to coach Pat Quinn taking a chance on him March 26 against the New Jersey Devils, a night after the Montreal Canadiens completed devastating back-to-back trouncings of the Leafs with Mikael Telllqvist in net. Aubin made 35 stops in a 4-3 win over Jersey and though the Leafs still need a miracle to make the playoffs, Aubin has helped provide an extra fortnight of hope.

"We'll stick with him as long as it's going well," Quinn said. "It's not a perfect record, but it's pretty good."

Enough to pry a new contract from Toronto general manager John Ferguson?

"The more I the play and the more I play good teams, it puts more leverage in my agent's hands," Aubin said. "But I really want to focus on our team and show I'm capable of the job."

Aubin, nearing his 29th birthday in July, says he's not the same goalie who broke in with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1998-99. For parts of three seasons, his record was above .500 and he was seen as Tom Barrasso's successor. But he and the Pens fell on hard times. He left there with a record of 62-73-11, surpassed on the depth chart by Johan Hedberg and then No. 1 overall pick Marc-Andre Fleury.

"I'm not getting too high about this (good run with the Leafs), I know better," Aubin said. "I'm in the middle, trying to be composed. It's hockey and it turns around very fast. I have to stay focused and stay sharp, so it doesn't turn."

Aubin carried a 5-8 career mark against the Flyers into last night.


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