Leafs struggling on power play

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

OTTAWA -- The Maple Leafs power play is in a mournful missing man formation.

Not that it was burning up the National Hockey League before Tomas Kaberle was concussed, but the once proud vanguard of the Toronto offence is drying up.

Faced with a relentless checking opponent such as the Senators last night, it can get downright ugly as the Leafs were bottled up each of the eight times they had a man advantage. That's 0-for-8 for the second time in a month, and 2-for-42 the past nine games.

Ian White, Bryan McCabe and Pavel Kubina have taken turns in the Kaberle role.

"Man, we're struggling bringing it up the ice, no question," coach Paul Maurice said after the 5-1 loss to the Sens. "We're not in sync, we haven't moved the puck with confidence for an awfully long time.

"But we haven't had our No. 1 power play unit since mid-December. So that has something to do with it, too."

He was refering to Darcy Tucker and Kyle Wellwood, the former out until recently with a broken foot, the latter due back tomorrow when the Sens are in Toronto.

The Leafs entered last night 17th in the NHL with a 17.8% success rate. Kaberle, Kubina and Mats Sundin are at 25 points or higher on the power play to lead the team.

"You always go through times when you struggle, but we've had problems now for a while, almost three weeks," Sundin said.

"It seems we're looking for the perfect play. Their penalty killers did a good job up ice tonight and we didn't have a lot of set-up time. We need to do a better job coming into the zone.

"We're standing around, not moving the puck around as well as we were earlier in the season. Tomas is not there, but we have guys back there who can move the puck and it shouldn't be an excuse."

To add insult last night, the Sens got on the Leafs pairing of White and McCabe and pressured them into a giveaway and eventual short-handed goal by Dean McAmmond.


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