Buds firing blanks

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

TORONTO -- A couple of NHL traders might re-examine Mikael Tellqvist after a rare start, but the Leafs offence is suddenly nowhere to be seen.

Held to a goal in an overtime loss in Boston, they were denied 2-1 again by the New Jersey Devils last night at the Air Canada Centre. It was the Leafs' lowest output in consecutive games since 2-1 losses to Dallas and Los Angeles last December.

After it seemed they would ride out the absence of leading scorer Mats Sundin with 11 goals in two games, they waited until the third period to strike last night, with Darcy Tucker beating Martin Brodeur at 16:23 with a long glove-side slap shot.

The night's opening goal came just after the Leafs killed a late second-period minor to Jeff O'Neill. Jamie Langenbrunner was poised to cover the full-strength Leafs breakout when he found the puck on his stick in the slot, quickly wheeled and fired his eighth of the season past Tellqvist.

Patrik Elias made it 2-0 at 12:16 of the third, a play that began when Brendan Bell missed a clearing attempt.

A flu-ridden Jean-Sebastien Aubin gave up the start for Tellqvist, who lost his last three regular-season decisions, including the back-to-back, back-breaking losses in Montreal in March. The Leafs have now generated just three goals in Tellqvist's last four games, no doubt adding to his lack of confidence.

GM John Ferguson was hopeful of getting as much as a second-round pick for Tellqvist in September after a strong pre-season when Aubin was just a shade better to earn the back-up role.

Raycroft hopes to be back tomorrow night here against the Islanders, with 12 days to recover from a groin strain.

After a rough start -- a bad-angle shot by Brian Gionta went off his goal stick and the crossbar, a long range shot was juggled -- Tellqvist stopped two partial breakaways. He also blocked John Madden twice in the third period before Elias put it away.


Videos

Photos