Leafs still 'hungry'

TERRY KOSHAN

, Last Updated: 3:05 AM ET

Who says the Maple Leafs won't be in the playoffs this spring?

They're not saying as much, sort of.

The Leafs have broken down their final six games into a couple of make-believe playoff rounds, with the goal of winning two out of each three. They got off on the right foot Wednesday night by beating the Philadelphia Flyers.

"We still want teams to know that for next year we have a hungry team and we are going to be even better next year," forward John Mitchell said. "We have to win two out of three to win the series, so this is our playoffs."

Where's Stempniak?

The Leafs thought they were getting more of a goal-scorer from the St. Louis Blues in November when they acquired winger Lee Stempniak in exchange for forward Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo. Stempniak, who had 27 goals two years ago, has just 11 in 57 games with Toronto.

"He has been inconsistent," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "He has not scored as much as we would have hoped, but he has not been a defensive liability. He has competed hard every night."

White impressed

Ian White reached a career milestone with his 10th goal on Wednesday night, but shook his head in a bit of disbelief with the fact that fellow defenceman Mike Green of the Washington Capitals scored his 30th of the season that evening.

"It's remarkable," White said. "To get that accomplishment at such a young age (Green is 23), he is going to have a long, outstanding career.

"It's great for the game and good for him."

White's high in junior with the Swift Current Broncos was 32 goals in 2001-02, but 30 in the NHL?

"I'm definitely happy with 10," White said with a chuckle. "Maybe 15 next year. But 30 is such a long way off. You're not going to see many guys hitting 30 in this league."

Green became the first NHL defenceman to score 30 goals in one season since Kevin Hatcher had 34 for the Capitals in 1992-93.

No Bozak yet

The Leafs were hoping to find out yesterday whether they would land free-agent forward Tyler Bozak of the University of Denver, but Bozak has not yet made a decision. The Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks are thought to be on Bozak's short list.


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