Leafs' late-game woes must go

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

Going, going, gone.

That has been the repeating theme of the 2007-08 Maple Leafs through nine games of this young season.

Paul Maurice's team has coughed up a number of potential points in the early going, points that might be the difference between a playoff spot and an early vacation come April.

On five occasions thus far, the Leafs have entered the third period either leading or tied and failed to come out with a victory. Toronto's late-game woes are documented by the fact it has been outscored by the opposition 16-8 in the third period.

Here's a look

- Oct. 3: Sens 4, Leafs 3 (OT)

Toronto carried a 3-2 lead into the third period only to be gutted by Sens superstar Dany Heatley. Having just signed a six-year, $45-million contract extension, Heatley tied the game late in the third, then ruined the home opener for Leafs fans by netting the overtime winner.

- Oct. 4: Sens 3, Leafs 2

The Leafs rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the second intermission on goals by Mats Sundin and Matt Stajan just 32 seconds apart. But Leaf nemesis Daniel Alfredsson spoiled the party with just 4:59 remaining in the game by scoring the winner, ruining Vesa Toskala's regular-season Maple Leaf debut.

- Oct. 13: Penguins 6, Leafs 4

Leave it to the Leafs to wake up Sidney Crosby. Sid the Kid came to Toronto without a goal on the season, but scored in the second period to help the Pens enter the second intermission tied at 4-4. The Crosby Show then tapped home the winner in the third period.

- Oct. 15:Sabres 5. Leafs 4 (OT)

Yet another Leaf collapse in Buffalo. The Leafs cough up a 2-0 third period advantage and are fortunate to escape regulation time tied at 4-4. Bryan McCabe then scores into his own net with 3.7 seconds left in overtime to complete the nightmare.

- Oct 20: Blackhawks 6, Leafs 4

A 3-1 Toronto lead is wiped out by a pair of Chicago goals in the first two minutes of the third period. The Hawks end up scoring four consecutive goals in the final frame to take control of the contest.


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