TORONTO - “What Can Brown Do For You?” is the UPS delivery service motto.
The Leafs are getting the right answer from winger Mike Brown the past two games, both losses, though hardly the fault of their third line winger.
He was one of their best players in the loss to Stanley Cup champion Chicago last week, but if anyone thought he was turning it on just for a televised game against his hometown team, he played another spirited 60 minutes Thursday against the Flyers.
Brown, himself looking a bit like one of the 1970s’ Broad St. Bullies with his handlebar moustache, bumped the visitors with authority and made the Leafs’ offensive play of the night on a 2-on-1 with Joffrey Lupul.
Brown beat ex-Anaheim teammate Sean O’Donnell on the deke and pass.
“He came to the bench with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on a guy all year,” coach Ron Wilson said. “And Brownie is laying down and blocking shots as he has done all year. That was nice to see.”
Lupul, who has just four goals in 14 games as a Leaf, praised him, too.
“He took it full speed at the defenceman, a great play through his legs. I thought he was going to shoot and he slid it over to me at the last second. I was able to get it off my foot and score,” Lupul said. “The past couple of games he’s been noticeable out there, finishing his checks, taking the puck to the net. That goes a long way to helping our team win when a guy like that is playing the way he is.”
Brown has seven points in 36 games.
No ducking Dion
Leaf captain Dion Phaneuf gets a lot of flak for his rogue point shot that often comes in head high, though the one that struck Mikhail Grabovski’s visor and glanced into the net on Thursday night actually was tipped upwards by a Flyer. And Phaneuf had another nice low level shot that Tyler Bozak re-directed off of the post. Wilson was encouraged, especially with his power play which had been 0-for-26 before Grabovski’s goal.
“You can’t deflect things unless you are in front of the net,” the coach reminded. “We’re starting to see signs of it, but we need more. You need a little bit of luck to deflect it and the puck has to go in. But getting to the front is the huge part. (Saturday against Buffalo) with Ryan Miller, we need to get traffic and we need to win battles there.”
With almost all the Leafs not talking Friday morning after a quick team meeting, Mike Komisarek’s side of the story for his boarding call and game misconduct for shoving Daniel Carcillo of the Flyers had not been told. But teammate Keith Aulie said few words were necessary after the Leafs were down a man for five full minutes in a vital game.
“Obviously it was a tough play, the way it happened and he feels bad because he affected the game a little bit,” Aulie said. “But it’s the game of hockey and stuff like that happens.”
The Flyers scored just once during the major.