Comebacks have carried the Leafs

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

The top of the National Hockey League standings show W, L, OTL and SOL, but as yet have not come up with CABS.

That's comebacks after big setbacks, something the Maple Leafs surely would be among the league's leaders. CABS is the reason the Leafs still are in the playoff picture, if you look at their record after losses of three or more goals. On 11 occasions following such one-sided results, they either won or kept the score within two goals. Only three times, including two during their autumn seven-game losing streak, was a rout repeated.

CABS might be meaningless when the horn sounds in Game 82 against the Montreal Canadiens and the Leafs are still ninth or lower in a cut-throat Eastern Conference playoff race. But resilience has become the identity of the Paul Maurice Leafs.

The latest example was Saturday's rally to beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in overtime, 72 hours after a crushing 5-1 loss to the same Senators.

"We may have lost two in a row, but not played poorly two in a row and that's a big difference," goaltender Andrew Raycroft said. "We've bounced back, shift-to-shift and period-to-period all year."

Coach Maurice said the Leafs truly came together in January, an 8-4 month with up to six forwards hurt.

"You saw teams such as Philadelphia and St. Louis get to that point and they destructed," Maurice said. "This team found a way, through injuries, (highly criticized) goaltending and adversity."

Alexei Ponikarovsky says the Leafs try not to let the losses east at them.

"It's not the time of year to feel sorry for ourselves," he said. "We have to re-group, look at what went wrong in the game on video and try not to do it again.


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