Maple Leafs-Flyers: Toronto Loses Sundin but Wins in Philadelphia

Thayne HallyburtonCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2008

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3 to 2 Wednesday night at the Wachovia Centre in Philadelphia, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.

Toronto is now just five points behind Philadelphia for the final playoff spot and have only ten games remaining to the Flyers eleven. The Leafs are still in control of their own destiny however, because if they keep winning, the rest will take care of itself.

Iain White, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Pavel Kubina were the goal scorers for the buds, while Jeff Carter and Mike Knuble replied for the Flyers who move to 16-14-6 on home ice this season. The Philly faithful also serenaded their team with 'boos' on their way off the ice.

Toronto, 9-3-1 in their last ten, has a couple days off and will face the Buffalo Sabres, another team they are chasing in the standings, at home on Saturday, before embarking on a three game road trip which should either eliminate the Leafs all together or put them right back into the race for eighth.

The Good

Leafs nation and Cliff Fletcher may have had their minds changed on the Pavel Kubina situation after the performances he put on, in the home and home series against the Flyers as he potted three goals, two being game winners.

The veteran defender was blatantly targeted at the post-trade deadline press conference by Cliff Fletcher for going back on his word.

Fletcher was under the impression that Kubina was waiving his no trade clause and had him all but on a pane to San Jose when he found out that Kubina had chosen to exercise his right to stay in Toronto. Since then Fletcher and Leafs Nation have been looking to throw the blue-liner under the proverbial bus.

Oh how things change in forty-eight hours.

The Bad

Toronto Maple Leafs coach, Paul Maurice, sent out arguably the teams' two worst defensive forwards in Kyle Wellwood and Jiri Tlusty onto the ice with 1:40 remaining in the third period.

This was a questionable move and it almost cost the blue and white as a Wellwood give-away nearly ended up in Toronto's net.

I would not want to be Paul Maurice at the post-game press conference had that give-away ended up in the back of the Leafs' goal.

The Ugly 

Toronto captain Mats Sundin went down with a muscle strain in the first period of Wednesday night's game and did not return.

The Toronto captain was on a nine game point streak and was pivotal in the clubs record over those games. We will have to wait and see how much hockey, if any, Sundin will miss down the stretch.

If it is bad, this might just be the dagger through the heart of the Leafs' playoff run.

Let's not forget last year though, when the Leafs went on the improbable run over the last 20 games without Sundin recording a single goal.

Let's hope the Leaf captain can come back sooner rather than later and lead the Leafs to the post season.