Leafs' fall frustrates coach

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

TORONTO -- Paul Maurice looked up at the heavens, perhaps seeking some kind of divine intervention.

For arguably the first time in his brief tenure as the bench boss of the Maple Leafs, the personable Toronto head coach appeared to be completely exasperated.

Standing at the podium for his postgame press conference, Maurice had just been asked how his Leafs could let the Ottawa Senators' Chris Kelly, a former London Knight, stand wide open in front of the net in the game's waning moments while nursing a one-goal advantage.

Letting out a huge sigh, he peered up at the sky.

"I know, I know," he said. "We're working on it."

Maurice had plenty of reason to be frustrated.

With his team up 2-1 and the clock ticking down, none of his players bothered to pick up Kelly, who tapped in the tying goal with just 2:06 remaining in regulation. The Nightmare on Bay Street was complete when Chris Phillips fanned on a redirect that still managed to find its way in off the far post at 2:39 of overtime for a 3-2 Sens' win, devastating both the Leafs and the capacity crowd at the Air Canada Centre.

Six regulars -- Michael Peca, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nik Antropov, Kyle Wellwood, Darcy Tucker and Carlo Colaiacovo -- were out of the lineup due to either injury and illness, but the depleted Leafs showed considerable spunk and should have won.

After Alex Steen and Dean McAmmond exchanged goals in the first two periods, Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft made a huge glove save off Dany Heatley midway through the third. Seconds later, Seaforth native Boyd Devereaux beat Sens goalie Ray Emery to put the hosts up 2-1.

But then came another third- period Toronto collapse.

"I was a hard-fought game and to have it go like that, well, it hurts," Maurice said.

Raycroft was fooled a bit by the knuckleball that proved to be the winner but otherwise showed the form that a No. 1 netminder needs to show. That didn't stop the media from peppering him with questions concerning a potential goalie controversy.

"Look, I don't care if it's myself or J-S (Aubin), just so long as we win," Raycroft said.

Playing just his second game as a Leaf after being called up from the Marlies, Devereaux scored his first goal for Toronto and has looked sharp in his brief stint.

"It was a big thrill," he said. "Unfortunately it didn't turn out to be the winner."

Kelly saw to that. It was quite a night for the Toronto native who, along with scoring the equalizer off a pass from the corner from Wade Redden, added an assist.

"It was a great pass," Kelly said of Redden's play. "I was surprised to be that open, especially late in the game. There's usually three guys on you."


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