Leafs' QB handing off

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Going strictly by the numbers, you would have to conclude that Bryan McCabe has handed in his playbook as quarterback of the Maple Leafs' power play.

When Toronto scores five times with the man advantage -- as it did on Saturday night in Philadelphia -- and McCabe's name is absent from the summary, it's clear the opposition now has fully neutralized his reknowned slap shot from the point.

That is not a revelation to McCabe, who has found an enemy forward in his face since Boxing Day when his 10th power-play goal must have convinced any team with a DVD player to cook up a checking scheme that keyed on the Leafs' best point man.

Since then, McCabe has been held to just three power-play goals, but he did miss nine games in January with a groin injury.

McCabe was quick to observe the other day that while his personal numbers are down, the Leafs as a team have not slipped from top five power-play status in the league.

In reviewing what went wrong with his club's playoff pursuit this year, coach Pat Quinn pegged McCabe's injury and drop in production as a harbinger of doom. McCabe has just 15 points the past 26 games, and only one in the previous seven heading into tonight's contest against the Florida Panthers at the Air Canada Centre.

Yet, Quinn has not lost faith in McCabe's special teams' role as much as lamented the inability of others to pick up the slack. That wish was fulfilled in Philly, a 5-for-8 night for a power-play unit that was about to fall below 20% efficiency.

"We've been trying to work some other options," Quinn said. "If there is close coverage on McCabe, we should be getting some chances elsewhere and that's what happened (on Saturday). Jeff O'Neill did it (twice), Mats Sundin did it and we got another (Alex Steen's) off the rush."

Tomas Kaberle had two assists to lead the defence, rookie Ian White also made a great point play on O'Neill's opening goal, and even stay-at-home Luke Richardson had a helper.

All but five of right winger O'Neill's 19 goals have been on the power play.

"A sound game, aggressive forechecking and power play goals ... it's a good recipe," O'Neill said. "Their (Flyers) penalty-killing was a little passive and we got some opportunities from it."


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