Big victory for Leafs

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Moments after the final horn had wailed at the Bell Centre last night, whoops of joy could be heard coming from inside the victorious Maple Leafs' dressing room.

Mike Van Ryn's voice wasn't among them.

This huge 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens should have been about Luke Schenn's first NHL goal, Vesa Toskala's marvellous performance of redemption and Jason Blake's two-goal outing in this, his impressive comeback season.

But seeing the look of utter frustration etched on Van Ryn's face as he limped toward the bus after the game put a real damper on what was otherwise one of Toronto's most successful showings of the season.

"Lower body injury," Van Ryn grunted, shrugging his shoulders in despair.

Specifically, it is an injury to his left leg, one that coach Ron Wilson said will keep him "out for a while."

Van Ryn, who suffered a concussion against these same Habs after being crushed into the boards by Tom Kostopoulos on Nov. 8, was injured when he was nudged into the boards from behind by Max Pacioretty just three minutes into the second period. While Pacioretty received a charging penalty, Wilson was incredulous that no five-minute major was given.

"When I asked about it, (the officials) said (Van Ryn) still was able to get up," Wilson said. "Yeah, he got up all right. He limped off the ice and to the dressing room.

"We have to do something about hitting from behind."

Van Ryn has missed 30 games this season because of injuries, including a pair of concussions. He was looking forward to playing in Florida Tuesday, his first scheduled on-ice appearance there since the Panthers dealt him to the Leafs on Sept. 2 for Bryan McCabe and a fourth-round pick in 2010.

Forget about that happening.

With Van Ryn and Tomas Kaberle sidelined, Schenn will be relied upon even more at the back end. Then again, what more can this 19-year-old kid do?

The one thing missing from his rookie resume was a goal. Until the 14:37 mark of the first period, that is.

FIRST-TIMER

That's when his bad-angle shot found its way through a screened Carey Price to open the scoring. Wearing a smile that seemed to stretch all the way to his native Saskatoon, Schenn high-fived the entire Leafs bench in celebration.

"He has been getting razzed about having not scored," Wilson said. "The guys give him the business every time he puts one in, in practice."

This wasn't practice. This was on a Saturday night, in Montreal, against the fabled Canadiens.

"It couldn't have happened at a better place," Schenn said. "To be honest, I didn't know I had scored at first."

He does now. And he'll pay for it tonight in Florida when the Leafs hold their annual rookie dinner.

"I heard it's going to be expensive," Schenn said. "But it's worth it. It means I'm in the NHL."

As for Toskala, he played like a man with something to prove. Maybe he did.

Toskala took a lot of heat last week from management. Not only did general manager Brian Burke criticize the veteran goaltender for his poor numbers, coach Ron Wilson followed that up by suggesting Toskala's practice habits left something to be desired.

The best way to shut them up? Stop 31 shots and be named the game's second star.

"I don't listen to all that stuff in the media," Toskala said. "I just try to keep my team in the game. "I've led my team to points in five consecutive games. That's not too bad."

Blake agreed.

"Vesa was outstanding," said the veteran forward, whose two third-period goals gave him 19 on the season.

Van Ryn, understandably, did not share his enthusiasm.


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