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Saturday, May 11
Updated: May 11, 1:48 PM ET
Tucker injury adds fuel to Leafs' fire

Associated Press

TORONTO -- With his left arm in a sling and a broken bone in his shoulder, Darcy Tucker's role for the Toronto Maple Leafs has changed.

No longer able to serve as the team's on-ice pest and gritty checker, Tucker believes his season-ending injury can be a rallying point.

The banged-up Maple Leafs will need all the inspiration they can get, down 3-2 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Senators.

Game 6 is at Ottawa today.

"The one thing that is hopefully going to come out of this is that we've got a rallying point now," Tucker said. "Hopefully just cause will come out of us going there and winning the big game, and coming back here and winning game 7.

"And we'll have only one person to thank for that."

Tucker was referring to Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

Chasing Tucker for the puck in the Toronto zone, Alfredsson hit Tucker from behind, sending him crashing heavily into the boards with a little more than two minutes left in Game 5 on Saturday. Seconds later, and with Tucker writhing in pain on the ice, Alfredsson scored the game-winning goal in 4-2 Senators victory.

Alfredsson, who wasn't penalized, maintains it was a clean hit. And the NHL appears to agree, failing to take any punitive action against Alfredsson.

While Tucker remained the hot topic on Saturday, the Maple Leafs realize they have to focus on Game 6.

"There's no anger," said Alexander Mogilny. "It's just an unfortunate incident that happened and cost us the game. ... It's over. It's behind us. We have to clear our head and focus on tomorrow's game."

It won't be easy for a team that was already missing five regulars, including captain Mats Sundin (broken wrist).

Not that the Maple Leafs aren't used to playing hurt.

"When Mats went down and Rene (Mikael Renberg) went down, and we were already without Yushky (Dmitry Yushkevich), if you don't hit the wall there, then why stop now?" Alyn McCauley said. "We've fought so hard to get to this point, why let one more injury hold us back?"

Just as big of a concern for the Maple Leafs is finding some more offense. Of the nine goals they've scored against Ottawa, six have come from McCauley's line.

Mogilny, who led the Leafs with four goals in their first-round win over the New York Islanders, has just two assists against Ottawa.

"I've got a feeling it's coming," Mogilny said.

Asked what gives him that feeling, he replied: "I don't know. ... But I've just got a feeling that something good will happen soon."

The Senators remained cautious about their chances of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in their short history.

They're particularly troubled by how they've failed to hold leads in their last two games. Ottawa squandered a 1-0 lead in a 2-1 loss in Game 4, and blew two one-goal leads before pulling out the victory Saturday.

"We were trying to protect the lead too much. I thought we got a little nervous," Alfredsson said. "We weren't playing the way we had with the lead before. It almost hurt us."

Alfredsson shrugged off questions that the Maple Leafs might target him for his hit on Tucker.

"That's fine. There's nothing you can do about that," he said. "Everybody tries to finish checks. We have to go out and do our job. What they do, it's nothing we can control."

The dispute over Tucker's injury is the latest in a heated series between two Ontario provincial rivals.

The Senators have accused Toronto players of pushing their own goal off its posts on a number of occasions.

The Maple Leafs were livid about Alfredsson's eventual game-winning goal in Game 3, accusing Ottawa's Benoit Brunet of interfering with Joseph on the play.

"You put Ottawa and Toronto, two towns that don't have much love for each other when it comes to hockey, you get a lot of intensity," Alfredsson said. "I don't know why you're surprised."

Series Page


Leafs' Tucker out for rest of playoffs

Controversial legislation: Sens lead 3-2 on disputed goal


 Ottawa vs. Toronto
Daniel Alfredsson takes out Darcy Tucker. Seconds later he buries the Maple Leafs.
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