Holiday on Ice for Leafs

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:00 AM ET

Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler was wandering through the Air Canada Centre press box during the first intermission last night, voicing his hopes that Mats Sundin would break his various records in the final 40 minutes.

"I'm going to Florida (tomorrow) to spend some time with my kids, so I won't be around in case he does it later this week," Sittler said.

While Sittler deserves a sunny vacation, the humiliated Maple Leafs played like they already were on one.

Aside from the milestone night turned in by Sundin and a handful of highlight-reel saves from goaltender Vesa Toskala, the Leafs turned in an embarrassing stinker against the Carolina Hurricanes, much to the chagrin of the jeering crowd.

Sundin did tie Sittler for the franchise's career points lead at 916 by assisting on Bryan McCabe's power-play goal just 4:21 into the game. He also remains deadlocked with Sittler for most goals by a Leaf with 389.

Of course, Sundin probably would have needed to match Sittler's single-game mark for points with 10 in order to keep the Leafs up with the high-flying Hurricanes.

If not for the heroics of the acrobatic Toskala, the final score of 7-1 would have been much more lopsided in favour of the visitors.

"This was unacceptable.There are no excuses," Sundin said. "It's not like we are coming off a lot of games or anything. It's the start of the season, we're on home ice and it's just terrible."

Asked about being deadlocked with Sittler for most points by a Leaf, the captain shook his head in disgust and said: "I haven't really thought about that."

The disgraceful effort should send warning signs to coach Paul Maurice and general manager John Ferguson on a number of fronts.

First off, management and players stressed throughout training camp the importance of taking advantage of a home-heavy schedule in the early part of the campaign.

With eight of their first 10 outings at the Air Canada Centre, the Leafs knew the tone of the season could be set in that span.

So far, so bad.

Maurice's squad has managed just three points from its first three home dates, thanks to an ordinary 1-1-1 record in Toronto.

Next up are the New York Islanders, who come to town Thursday to face former teammate Jason Blake for the first time since he left Long Island. Then it's the Crosby Show on Saturday night as Sid The Kid and his Pittsburgh Penguins make one of their two visits to Toronto.

A daunting task for the Leafs, to be sure.

Another concern for the beleaguered brass should be the amount of pucks the Leafs have been forced to fish out of their own net in the early going.

The Leafs have been lit up for 17 goals through their first four games, a dismal average of more than four per outing. The easy scapegoats would be Toskala and fellow goalie Andrew Raycroft, but they can not be blamed for the sloppy team defence that allowed Carolina countless point-blank shots normally seen in a scrambly game of shinny.

Justin Williams, Cory Stillman, Matt Cullen, Ray Whitney, Scott Walker, Jeff Hamilton and Eric Staal scored for the Hurricanes.

TIED FOR TOPS IN BLUE AND WHITE

Thanks to his first-period assist last night, Mats Sundin tied Darryl Sitter as the career points leader in Maple Leafs history. Sundin also is even with Sittler for the most goals as a Leaf, while the two men are tied for second overall in career assists as a Leaf:

Points

Mats Sundin 916

Darryl Sittler 916

Dave Keon 858

Goals

Mats Sundin 389

Darryl Sittler 389

Dave Keon 365

Assists

B. Salming 620

Mats Sundin 527

Darryl Sittler 527


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