February 8, 2011
Leafs keep eye on standings
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Before Tuesday’s game against the Islanders, centre Tim Brent was asked about the dangers of looking past clubs such as the Isles, one of the three teams behind Toronto in the East. On Thursday, the Devils are at the ACC, another team in Toronto’s rear-view mirror.
“We look at the standings every day in here and we don’t have room to be complacent,” Brent said. “Every game means the world to us right now. We’re well aware the Isles have beaten a couple of pretty good teams lately.”
“If we keep getting points and keep heading in the right direction, who knows what could happen?,” added defenceman Mike Komisarek.
Heading into Tuesday, the Leafs had made it within 10 points of eighth place, though that’s still a lot of ground to cover with three teams occupying the 9 to 11 spots. Games such as Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Buffalo can’t be allowed to fester into losing streaks.
“We didn’t play the way we needed to (in Buffalo), not even close and (the 5-4 win over Atlanta) was a good way to respond,” defenceman Dion Phaneuf said. “Tomorrow becomes even bigger.”
Monster vs. whale
Jonas Gustavsson will get his second AHL start on his conditioning stint on Wednesday morning when the Marlies have a school-themed 11 a.m. start against the Connecticut Whale at the Ricoh Coliseum.
During the recently completed AHL all-star break, the Marlies signed well-travelled NHLer Jeff Cowan to a full AHL contract. The 33-year-old from Scarborough has eight points in 22 games.
“He’s got a lot of hockey left in him,” coach Dallas Eakins said. “He’s a big part of our penalty killing (ranked second in the AHL). “He’s a great leader, extremely fit and that rubs off on our young guys.”
After coming back to win Monday’s game 5-4 over Atlanta, coach Ron Wilson was in a better frame of mind to answer questions about the officiating.
Chris Lee and Dennis LaRue assessed the Leafs six first-period minors to Atlanta’s one, resulting in two power-play goals and an instant lead. After that, the calls were 4-1 in the Leafs’ favour, including a cross check at the final horn when a frustrated Dustin Byfuglien hammered Colby Armstrong.
“We deserved maybe four of the penalties, five on the night, but a couple were iffy,” Wilson said. “It’s a fast moving game. All you want is an eye for an eye. If we’re going to get called for touching a guy’s hand, it should go the other way, too. It didn’t matter, we found a way to get the job done.”
With Clarke MacArthur scoring on Monday, 20 of the Leafs’ 22 wins have come when he records a point...Forward Justin Hodgman has been returned to the ECHL Reading Royals by the Marlies ... Tyler Bozak’s points slump didn’t disturb his faceoff proficiency on Monday. He had 17 wins on 23 draws against Atlanta.