Hagman on rare pace

LANCE HORNBY

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

More than halfway to a 20-goal season, Niklas Hagman could perform a rare feat by an imported Leaf. Of the 50 players who'd had at least 20 goals when Toronto acquired them as free agents or in trades since 1990, Hagman would be just the 13th to get 20 as a Leaf. Hagman had a career high 27 with Dallas last season.

The others to make it are Mike Gartner, Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Derek King, Alex Mogilny, Glenn Anderson, Dave Andreychuk, Kirk Muller, Jeff O'Neill, Gary Roberts, Igor Korolev and Darcy Tucker.

Those who didn't, to name a few, were Jason Allison, Bates Battaglia, Shayne Corson, Sylvain Cote, John Cullen, Mariusz Czerkawski, Dave Ellett, Mike Foligno, Ron Francis, Dave Gagner, Travis Green, Brian Leetch, Dmitry Khristich, Eric Lindros, Larry Murphy, Owen Nolan, Mike Peca, Matheiu Schneider, Dixon Ward, Terry Yake, Peter Zezel, and so far, Jason Blake, Lee Stempniak and Mark Bell.

Home cooking

The next four games will have a lot to say about the Leafs' playoff chances, four games at home against teams in its general vicinity in the standings.

"We're not a team that can look at anyone and say: 'They're beatable,' " centre Dominic Moore said. "Any team in this league is good, you have to be prepared for, especially when you're a team like us, that has to work for its victories.

"We're not focused on the playoffs, just trying to get better every game. We're still in the thick of it, but focused on improvement. We'll see where that takes us."

Defenceman Jeff Finger is not taking the next few days lightly.

"These are the dog days where the playoff races are usually won and lost," Finger said. "It would be nice to string a few together here where we have some comfort and we'll be home for a week and a half."

Loose Leafs

Anton Stralman has an ankle injury that had kept him out of the past couple of games for the Toronto Marlies. But even with that setback, the demoted defenceman had no points in six games before last night.


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