Defenseman was minus-5 Saturday

Updated: May 6, 2004, 2:49 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- Bryan McCabe is ready to move on. The rest of the Toronto Maple Leafs had better be, too.

"Today's a new day," McCabe said. "The best part about playoffs is you get another opportunity to redeem yourself."

The defenseman and his teammates have plenty of redeeming to do when they host Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. The Flyers lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.

Philadelphia retook control of the second-round series with a 7-2 home victory Sunday, a game in which McCabe was on the ice for six of the Flyers' goals -- two of which he set up with giveaways.

It was McCabe's second straight poor outing. He flubbed a pass attempt in front of his own net that led to Philadelphia's goal in Toronto's 3-1 win in Game 4 last week.

"You can't get down too much, and you can't get too high," McCabe said. "I'm a guy who's pretty hard on himself after a performance like that. But it's behind me."

It had better be, considering that McCabe is Toronto's top two-way defenseman: He leads his team in ice time and in points (three goals, five assists).

And here's what the Maple Leafs have going for them: Game 6 is in Toronto. The home team won each of the first five games.

The Maple Leafs have been strong at home this postseason, going 5-1. Philadelphia is struggling on the road, going 1-3 in the playoffs and being outscored 7-2 in two games at Toronto.

But the Flyers could get back goaltender Robert Esche. He practiced Monday after missing the final two periods of Game 5. The team said Esche had "flu symptoms," but a Flyers spokesman told ESPN that the goalie was seen by a neurologist Sunday.

Philadelphia probably will be without defenseman Vladimir Malakhov, who injured his head Sunday, while Toronto will be without steady defenseman Ken Klee, who hurt his leg.

In Monday's practice, Leafs coach Pat Quinn appeared to be considering juggling his lines for the third time in three games, putting Mats Sundin alongside gritty forwards Gary Roberts and Darcy Tucker and elevating Joe Nieuwendyk onto a line with play-making forwards Alexander Mogilny and Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Sundin, the Leafs' captain, had two goals and an assist in Toronto's two home wins. His Flyers counterpart, Keith Primeau, had three goals and an assist Sunday, a day after he addressed his teammates during a closed-door meeting.

"Tomorrow is a game for new heroes," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Some people have really risen to task and hopefully others are coming up to speed again."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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