Thursday, February 16, 2012

3010 days since last Leaf win in Vancouver

I couldn't believe it myself. It has been over 3000 days since Toronto has won a hockey game in Vancouver. Sure, there were seasons in there when the Leafs didn't even visit the Canucks, and one whole season was cancelled, but still...wow.

I was at the game on November 22, 2003 a Saturday night which saw Toronto win 5-3. Amazingly, of the 20 players the Leafs dressed that evening a mere three are still in the NHL; Tomas Kaberle, Alexei Poinkarovsky and Matt Stajan. Karel Pilar is the only other one still active at all, playing with Vaxjo in the Swedish Elite League.

After a scrap between Tie Domi and Bryan Allen 23 seconds into the game, Toronto jumped out to a 2-0 lead before it was three minutes old on goals by Gary Roberts and Robert Reichel. Vancouver tied it on a Trevor Linden powerplay marker with 14 seconds to go in the opening period.

Leafs went up 4-2 after a scoreless second stanza with goals from Owen Nolan and Roberts by the nine minute mark of the third. Todd Bertuzzi made it close with 93 seconds remaining before Mats Sundin clinched it with an empty-netter a minute later. The goaltenders of record that evening were Ed Belfour and Dan Cloutier.

In contrast to the Leafs, out of Vancouver's 20 players dressed that game, 10 of them are still actively playing in the NHL; 14 if you include Marek Malik, Jason King and Brent Sopel playing currently in Europe and Mattias Ohlund who has been injured all season for Tampa Bay.

 The two teams would hook up once again two days later in Toronto with the Leafs winning again this time 2-1. This game on November 24, 2003 stands as the last time Toronto has beaten Vancouver to this very day. I will be at the game on Saturday hoping to see that fact change.

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