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Don't Blame Potvin for Toronto's Loss : Game 6: Although Kings showed he is not invincible, he has played well throughout series.

May 28, 1993|HELENE ELLIOTT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Goaltender Felix Potvin of the Toronto Maple Leafs occasionally looked vulnerable in giving up five goals to the Kings on Thursday, but the Maple Leafs' 5-4 loss couldn't be blamed on him.

Before Thursday's game, Potvin had given up two goals or fewer in 11 of his 19 playoff starts and had an outstanding .910 save percentage, inspiring comparisons with the spectacular rookie performance of Patrick Roy in leading the Montreal Canadiens to the 1986 Stanley Cup.

But on Thursday, he was less than invincible against high shots, getting beaten to the upper-right corner on the Kings' second and third goals.

"It seems like you've got to try to go upstairs," Tomas Sandstrom said. "But sometimes, you don't have the time to do that."

Still, Potvin didn't lose the game for the Maple Leafs--and he actually helped them tie it during regulation.

Potvin, who doesn't usually handle the puck much, swept it ahead to begin the play that set up Wendel Clark's tying goal. As Potvin skated to the Maple Leafs' bench with 1:25 to play, Bob Gill picked it up. Gill fed Doug Gilmour, who found Clark in the high slot for the wrist shot that sent the game to overtime.

Potvin returned after the goal to make several clutch saves in the last minute, running his total to 30 saves in regulation. However, he was helpless on Wayne Gretzky's game-winner, the Kings' fourth power-play goal of the game.

"(Luc) Robitaille made the pass to Gretzky, and he put it in," Potvin said. "It hit my pad, and went up."

Potvin said he was not shaken by the loss and didn't want to assess blame on any of the Kings' goals.

"I gave up one more goal than them, so it doesn't matter how good I played, or how bad," he said. "I wish I had stopped that fifth one, but there's nothing we can do now. I can't look back. We've just got to bounce back for the next game."

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Clark's hat trick was his first in the playoffs. He is in his eighth season with the Maple Leafs. . . . Glenn Anderson's goal was his 87th in postseason play, tying him with Mark Messier for third on the all-time playoff list. The point was his 200th, making him the fourth player to reach that plateau.

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A Canadien-Maple Leaf final would be a childhood dream come true for Toronto Coach Pat Burns, who has coached both teams.

"It would be a national thing," Burns said. "Remember those (table hockey) games you had as a kid, those games with rods (that controlled the movement of each player)? It was the red team against the blue team, the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs."

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