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Rebel move pays off for Yushkevich, Leafs Dash to net produces power-play goal // Toronto Sun
By LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun
When he was playing minor hockey in Russia, he would hit the other kids with such relish that other parents would chastise him for playing "too Canadian." He is one of the more outspoken Russian players, effective at verbal intimidation on the ice. In 1999, he and agent Mark Gandler caused Maple Leafs management its first nasty salary squabble in years.
Then there was Toronto's winning goal on Saturday in a 5-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. Frustrated by the power play's lack of success, Yushkevich left his point position, charged Trevor Kidd's net and screened for partner Aki Berg's goal.
On a power play where few people other than winger Gary Roberts pay the price, Yushkevich's move was electrifying.
"We said on the bench when we saw him go, that's perfect, make their (penalty killing) box stop and wonder what the hell is going on," Mats Sundin said.
Yushkevich said it was a spur-of-the-moment decision.
"I never go there on the power play," Yushkevich said with a laugh. "It was the first time and it worked. I saw Aki and Sergei Berezin playing catch with the puck with one of their guys (in between). I decided to go to the net in case one of them shot it."
There was confusion on who had scored, especially when officials saw Yushkevich retrieve the puck. He initially was awarded the goal, but quickly told them he was just fetching the puck for Berg's first Leafs goal. It was Berg's first goal since March 11, 2000, when he played for the Los Angeles Kings.
Yushkevich said he would try to charge the net more often.
"Most of the other teams do it to us," Yushkevich said. "One more guy coming into the power play in front brings confusion down low. So any rebound that comes down low, the defencemen can't control it. Yanic Perreault got open right away at the side when I made my move."
Entering yesterday's games, the Leafs power play was 20th in the NHL
with a 14.8% success rate. Only two playoff-bound teams, the San Jose Sharks
and Edmonton Oilers, are worse.