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Vancouver Canucks' Daniel Sedin (L) celebrates his goal with his twin brother Henrik Sedin behind Toronto Maple Leafs' Carl Gunnarsson during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Toronto January 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mark Blinch


There is a plumber named Roberto Luongo who advertises his firm on Toronto sports radio station The Fan 590. Apparently, Roberto The Plumber showed up at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night and managed to play goal for the Vancouver Canucks.

How else to explain the Toronto Maple Leafs scoring twice (both by Phil Kessel on feeds from Matt Stajan) in the first four minutes? Or Jamal 'Trade Me Right Freaking Now' Mayers blowing a slapshot from the right faceoff circle by him with 4.1 seconds left in the first period?

In any event, neither Roberto The Goalie Luongo nor Roberto The Plumber Luongo was around to start the second period. Instead, it was former Maple Leaf Andrew Raycroft, whom most Leaf fans believe also impersonates a goaltender.

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Not that it mattered in the end. The Sedin twins and their friend Alexandre Burrows finally showed up in the third period and the Leafs went back to their customary roles as plumbers, blowing a three-goal lead to lose 5-3 to the Canucks.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin scored twice in two minutes right off the bat to tie the score and then Daniel Sedin scored his second goal of the period with two minutes, four seconds for the winner. Burrows added an empty-net goal, his second of the game, to finish things off. Henrik Sedin wound up with a goal.

Henrik Sedin said the Canucks started pushing hard in the second period because they thought they had not done badly in the first even if the Leafs did build a 3-0 lead.

"Even in the first period we thought we played pretty good," he said. "Then going into the third they were up two goals and they fell. The crowd got a bit upset with them and the [Leafs]players got down on themselves."

When he came on in relief of Luongo, Raycroft was given the same treatment in his first appearance in Toronto since his contract was bought out two years ago as when he worked here - plenty of mock cheers. But he got the last laugh with the win.

At first, the Leafs looked surprisingly spry for an outfit that lost in overtime in New Jersey to the Devils on Friday night. They were all over the Canucks right from the opening faceoff.

The Leafs' usually embarrassing penalty killing was spot-on, thanks in part to some good work by goaltender Vesa Toskala. He earned the start with some decent work in relief of Jonas Gustavsson against the Devils.

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The high point for the penalty killers came late in the first period when they killed off a five-on-three Canucks power play. By the end of the second period, the Leafs snuffed out all four Vancouver power plays and held a 3-1 lead.

Henrik Sedin said even at that point the Canucks did not give up hope. He gave credit to Toskala for making some big saves and said one thing he and his brother have learned this season is to bide their time.

"Before, if we were down 3-0 and didn't score on the five-on-three it would be tough," he said. "It's different now. We know if we're patient we'll get our chances."

Up to that point, the Leafs line of Wayne Primeau and wingers Jason Blake and Lee Stempniak along with defenceman Francois Beauchemin held the potent Canucks line of the Sedin twins and Burrows in check, outside of a shorthanded goal by Burrows. But that all fell apart in the third period.

The Leaf power play, which coughed up a shorthanded goal to Burrows in the second period, could not come through when it mattered. With the score tied late in the third period, it could not produce a decent scoring chance and finished one-for-five.

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About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More


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