Leafs 6 Blues 3
TORONTO (AP) _ From the first day of training camp, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Murphy wanted his team to play like the Florida Panthers, a no-nonsense, hard-working team with contributions from every player on the roster.
On Tuesday night, Toronto’s hardest-working line _ the checking unit of Mike Craig, Jamie Baker and Todd Warriner _ scored three goals, collected seven points and hit everything that moved as the Leafs defeated the St. Louis Blues 6-3.
``They were excellent tonight,″ Murphy said. ``We need that. We have to have guys who carry the weight some nights, because we can’t always rely on our top four-five offensive players to do it.″
The line’s third goal, Baker’s first as a Leaf, gave Toronto an insurmountable 4-1 lead in the second period, and chased Blues goaltender Grant Fuhr from the game in favor of Jon Casey.
``Tonight, we were rewarded for hard work,″ said Baker, the game’s first star. ``We can’t rely on Doug (Gilmour) and Mats (Sundin) to score all the time. Hopefully, this can take some pressure off them, and it’s definitely good for our line and our confidence.″
The Blues did come back to make a game of it, with late second-period goals by Stephane Matteau and Harry York cutting the lead to 4-3.
But superb goaltending by Felix Potvin, and insurance goals by Wendel Clark and Sundin late in the third period iced the game for the Leafs.
After St. Louis defenseman Igor Kravchuk and Warriner exchanged early first-period goals, power-play markers by Sergei Berezin and Craig gave the Leafs a 3-1 lead.
Craig, the game’s third star, added two assists to give him his first three-point game as a Leaf.
``It felt good to put a couple points on the board, for everybody on the line,″ Craig said. ``We have to go out and put on the overalls and work hard because we can’t take any team in this league lightly.″
St. Louis coach Mike Keenan wasn’t as impressed by Toronto’s effort.
``We outshot them (32-26), and probably outplayed them,″ Keenan said. ``We just didn’t win.″