Preseason Game 40 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1

Preseason Game 40
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
Centre Bell, Montréal, Québec

At a training camp destined to be devoid of deep drama, there does remain one competition that could have a dramatic impact on the Maple Leafs’ Stanley Cup aspirations.

Toronto is hoping a backup goaltender emerges who is an upgrade on the retired Glenn Healy – a new puckstopper who offers enough of an improvement so star netminder Curtis Joseph can be rested at key times during the demanding 82-game season.

The pre-camp favourite to succeed Healy is Mikael Tellqvist, a star in the Swedish league who turns 22 today. However, late camp addition Corey Schwab, with the team on tryout basis, served notice last night that Tellqvist won’t get the job without a fight.

The two goaltenders split duties in a 2-1 loss to the Canadiens and both were, at times, very good behind a Toronto team that is struggling to produce offence. It was Montréal’s second win in two nights over Toronto, and the Leafs have only managed one goal, from Alyn McCauley, in those games.

Schwab made the more dramatic saves in his closing role, including two terrific stops on Brian Savage, and was perfect on the 10 shots he faced.

Tellqvist stopped 15 of the 17 shots in his debut as a Leaf and showed flashes of the anticipation, lateral movement and puckhandling that made him Sweden’s top goaltender the last two seasons.

“It’s early yet but he does have skill,” said coach Pat Quinn when asked about Tellqvist. “He seems to read the play pretty well but a position or long-term career is not made in a short time.”

Montréal’s first goal was set up by a sloppy clearing attempt from veteran defenceman Dave Manson, who is trying to use this camp to re-establish himself as a regular player in the NHL.

On the play, Manson had the puck in the corner but fired it diagonally into the slot directly on the stick of Mike Ribeiro, who fired a low, quick shot past the helpless netminder.

His best save might have come on former Leaf Yanic Perreault, who was allowed to walk out from the corner to test him from the top of the crease. This was Perreault’s debut in a Canadiens uniform and Joseph warned Tellqvist before the game to watch out for the centre with the good shot.

“I felt like I played well and made some good saves,” said Tellqvist, who will start again tonight when the Leafs face Ottawa at the Corel Centre.

“The game here is a lot quicker than back home. One pass, one shot. You have to be alert all the time. I wasn’t nervous, I just tried to stay focused.”

For the 31-year-old Schwab, who is mostly remembered as a goaltender in Tampa Bay, every outing is a chance to impress and perhaps win a job. It’s possible the Leafs might decide to keep Tellqvist with the minor league team in St. John’s just to ensure he has the opportunity to develop with lots of ice time.

“They haven’t told me anything,” said Schwab. “All they did was ask me if I wanted to come to camp on a tryout.

“I know I can play. That’s why I’m here. I’m hoping I can get a chance. If I do, I’m confident I can do the job.”

Story originally published in The Toronto Star, September 19, 2001

1st Period
TOR PEN – 03:57 – Reichel
MTL PEN – 07:44 – Petrov, double major
MTL PEN – 08:57 – Rivet
TOR GOAL – 11:51 – McCauley (Valk, Dempsey)
TOR PEN – 12:55 – Dempsey
MTL GOAL – 15:33 – Ribeiro
MTL PEN – 18:47 – Jarventie

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 05:12 – Antropov
MTL PP GOAL – 06:48 – Bulis (Dackell, Jarventie)
TOR PEN – 08:38 – Ponikarovsky
TOR PEN – 12:19 – Belak
MTL PEN – 19:32 – Jarventie

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 06:19 – Belak
TOR PEN – 08:40 – Belak
MTL PEN – 08:40 – Robidas
TOR PEN – 11:14 – Berg
TOR PEN – 17:08 – Corson

MTL – Théodore (W, 11-12), Hackett (7-7)
TOR – Tellqvist (L, 15-17), Schwab (10-10)

MTL – 10+9+8 = 27
TOR – 9+4+6 = 19