Sens send Leafs packing

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Mikael Tellqvist makes a save during second period NHL preseason action...

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Mikael Tellqvist makes a save during second period NHL preseason action in Toronto on Wednesday. (Toronto Sun/David Lucas)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Mikael Tellqvist thinks he knows where he belongs.

Whether the Maple Leafs brass agrees remains to be seen.

In what likely was his final pre-season appearance last night, Tellqvist allowed five goals on 31 shots as the Leafs lost 5-3 to their provincial rivals, the Ottawa Senators, at the Air Canada Centre.

"I have played a few years in the minors and I think I am good enough to play in the NHL," Tellqvist said. "You want to know what is going to happen. It's not only me, it is my fiancee, too. We'll have to wait and see."

INTRIGUING

One of the more intriguing stories in camp has been the issue of Andrew Raycroft's backup. For various reasons, many observers figure Jean-Sebastien Aubin, who was stellar down the stretch last season after Tellqvist faltered, has won the right to relieve Raycroft.

Aubin has more NHL experience, has been better in the pre-season and is exempt from a waiver rule that could bury Tellqvist in the minors.

With just a home-and-home set against the Detroit Red Wings this weekend remaining on the Leafs' pre-season docket, coach Paul Maurice hinted Raycroft could get both starts. If not, Aubin likely will get one of the assignments.

The Leafs might have all three goalies on their roster when they open the regular season Oct. 4 at home against the Senators.But that won't last long.

"I don't think we are carrying three all year," Maurice said. "I think performance is always the No. 1 indicator (on who stays), but I think there are other considerations with the rules, payroll restrictions, age, all those things."

Tellqvist made some big stops on Chris Neil and Denis Hamel last night but overall Aubin appears to be more confident. If Tellqvist is sent to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, he would be subject to recall waivers, meaning the Leafs would have to pay half of Tellqvist's $589,000 US salary if he is claimed by another NHL club. It would count against the salary cap. The rule does not apply to Aubin.

At any rate, some of the same problems that plagued Toronto last season under Pat Quinn have not completely disappeared under Maurice. The Leafs were 24th in penalty killing in 2005-06 and gave up three power-play goals last night on nine Senators chances.

Not all was bad, though. Defenceman Andy Wozniewski had an assist for his fifth point, and another hopeful, Bates Battaglia, showed hustle. And then there's flashy forward Alexander Suglobov, who scored his team-high third goal. In five games, the young Russian is plus-5.

Still, the Leafs' discipline has to be better. Even with Michael Peca helping to kill penalties once the regular season starts, bad habits will have to be overcome quickly.

"We shot ourselves in the foot and we couldn't kill the penalties," Matt Stajan said. "That was the difference. We have two games to clear that up."


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