Power's gone sour

Ottawa Senators celebrate the game winning goal as Toronto Maple Leafs Vesa Toskala looks to the...

Ottawa Senators celebrate the game winning goal as Toronto Maple Leafs Vesa Toskala looks to the ceiling during the third period at Scotiabank Place on Thurs., Oct. 4. The Sens beat the Leafs 3-2. (Sun Media file photo/Blair Gable)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

There has been no shortage of hoopla concerning Mats Sundin's 389th goal as a Maple Leaf in Ottawa on Thursday, a historic marker that allowed him to tie Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler for the career franchise lead.

But did you know that Sittler and Sundin also are deadlocked in another category?

Both share the team lead in power-play goals for the 2007-08 season.

Given the fact Sittler has not laced up for an NHL game in more than two decades, that is not a good sign.

Sittler, obviously, has not scored with the man advantage through the Leafs' first two games of the season.

Neither has Sundin.

Or any of his teammates, for that matter.

Therein lies what should be a primary concern for the winless Leafs heading into their showdown against the rival Montreal Canadiens tonight.

In back-to-back one-goal defeats to the Ottawa Senators, one power play marker would have made a huge difference.

Instead the Leafs will step on to the Air Canada Centre ice tonight having netted just one point from those tilts, partially because they have kicked off the season going 0-for-14 with the man advantage.

The Leafs spent much of their hour-long practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena yesterday working on their sputtering power play.

Once they came off the ice and addressed the media, their explanations were predictable: We're getting chances, we're close, and so forth.

"We haven't been that bad," said point man Bryan McCabe, who still is searching for one of his patented missiles to find the back of the net. "We just need to keep it simple. What we really need is a garbage one to go in to get our confidence up."

By the end of last season, opponents had identified Toronto's two favourite man-advantage plays -- either setting up McCabe for the blue-line bullet, or the cross-crease pass that, in the past, would end up on the stick of Darcy Tucker, who would be staring at an open net.

Tucker, for some reason, has looked a mere shell of his feisty self to this point, but the Leafs' power-play woes cut much deeper than the struggles of No. 16.

"We know Darcy can score on the power play," coach Paul Maurice said. "But clearly we are not getting any easy layups."

The ailment seems to be the same as in years past: Not enough beefy bodies in front of the net.

Meanwhile, the guessing game concerning the starting goaltender continues. Vesa Toskala didn't look too bad in the 3-2 loss to Ottawa on Thursday and would appear to be the logical choice, but don't rule out Andrew Raycroft getting the call against the Habs either.

"I'm still disappointed we didn't win that game," Toskala said. "But we still have time to get better."

Toskala was booed by the home crowd in his two exhibition appearances at the Air Canada Centre.

"If I play, it will be fine," he said. "I'm not worried about it."


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