And in one night, things are alright in Ontario as Toronto answered the senators 3-2 win over Detroit (Damn you Dom) with a 5-4 fightback win over the Lightning. This ends the Leafs 0-fer record when trailing after the first period.
J-S Aubin got the start and only lasted until the first minute of the second period. He was the victim of a Mats Sundin deflection and a Bryan McCabe braincramp. Paul Maurice gave him the hook and turned the ACC air blue with a timeout tirade that despite being inaudible on TV was nonetheless terrifying. Apparently it worked on the Leafs.
Andrew Raycroft kept the Lightning off the board with a couple of big saves before Chad Kilger scored a brace to tie the game heading into the third. Ottawa favourite Darcy Tucker deflected a Sundin shot to give the Leafs the lead before Jeff O'Neill jumped on a juicy rebound to hammer home a 5th. Tampa added a fourth on a powerplay but the Leafs defended well in the third period and came away with the win.
Other notables were Pavel Kubina, who played great against his old mates, Carlo, who did not look out of place after an almost year long layoff, and Michael Peca, who continued his excellent play of late with assists on the second and third goals.
So the weight is lifted off the Leafs. They played better all-around but there is still a long way for them to go before they reach the pre-losing streak levels let alone where the team should be. Next up is a Friday-Saturday double bill that starts in Carolina.
A comment on the sens game: Does each great performance by Emery make Muckler look dumber for signing Gerber?