Leafs silence Habs' power play

TERRY KOSHAN, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

Mats Sundin broke out of a goal-scoring slump and Pavel Kubina had his first two-goal game as a Maple Leaf, but there might have been a bigger encouraging sign at the Air Canada Centre last night.

In a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens, the Leafs killed off six of seven Canadiens power plays. That might seem like par for the course, but the Leafs have been brutal in killing penalties at home. Before last night's games, the Leafs had knocked off 78.5% of the opposition's power plays on home ice, the worst mark of any team in their own building.

Coach Paul Maurice has been stressing to his club that it needs to be simpler at the ACC and that bleeds into the penalty killers' roles.

"Our defence was faster, moved quicker and was more sure of themselves," Maurice said. "Our forwards were a little more patient and not running and chasing as much."

More impressive from the Leafs' end was the fact the Canadiens had the second-best power-play success rate in the NHL, at 23.1%, before the game started. At 6:06 of the second period Tomas Plekanec scored on a power play but that was it. In their previous home game, two weeks ago against the Vancouver Canucks, the Leafs allowed five power-play goals. That's the same amount they allowed against the Pittsburgh Penguins in their last match before the all-star break.

"You learn from that," Matt Stajan said. "We talked about it. If our penalty killing improves for the rest of this year, it will give us that much more of a chance to make the playoffs."

The Leafs were 28th in penalty killing after Fridays' games. When they missed the post-season in 2005-06 in their final season under Pat Quinn, they were 24th in penalty killing.

Maurice spread the responsibility around last night, as every Leaf but Wade Belak, Brendan Bell, Nik Antropov and Jeff O'Neill had penalty-killing time.

And as for that eight-game goalless skid that Sundin stopped, he shrugged.

"You are going to have weeks where the puck is not going to go in for you," Sundin said. "Not that I have been frustrated with it, but we need wins and a big part of my job is to be productive."


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