Thankfully, the Leafs pulled out a convincing 5-2 win in Philadelphia last night in what was really a must-win situation. The Leafs got goals from Alex Steen, Jeff O'Neill, Chad Kilger, Mats Sundin (who draws ever closer to passing Darryl Sittler as the Leafs all-time goal leader), and John Pohl, all of which were scored at even strength. There were no power play goals by either team, which is a rarity in the new NHL. Andrew Raycroft stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced and Tomas Kaberle got his team-leading 39th assist on Kilger's goal. The Leafs are 5-2-3 in their last ten games, but had dropped five of their last seven before putting the boots to Philly. The Leafs sit in 10th place, one point out of a playoff position, with Montreal's loss at the hands of the New York Islanders, but have two games in hand on the Canadiens. I must grudgingly congratulate Brian McCabe, my normal whipping boy, for his three assists and seemingly solid play last night--let's hope that keeps up.
My trade-related predictions for the Leafs: I have a feeling that there won't be any. I get the feeling that JFJ is too afraid to mess with the already unpredictable, though sometimes powerful, chemistry that the team can generate. Plus, I don't think he has much to offer any other team, other than Brendan Bell, because it doesn't look like he wants to part with any of his 'stars', including Mr. Grit, Darcy Tucker. When/if we get Tucker, Wellwood, and Peca back it is going to change the face of the team and give them a huge boost--I think that Fergie is counting on that and thus is hesitant to stir the pot. However, I have been wrong before and may so be again. We'll see on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. EST. One thing I am sure of is that if the Buds don't make the playoffs we can all (with varying degrees of joy for most of us) say our goodbyes to John Ferguson Jr!