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Maple Leafs stay hot, hand Rangers fifth loss in a row

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 15, 2002

TORONTO -- Mats Sundin had a goal and an assist as the Maple Leafs handed the New York Rangers their season-high fifth straight loss, 4-1 Saturday night.

The Rangers, on their longest losing streak since dropping six in a row last season, gave 19-year-old Dan Blackburn his 18th straight start in goal instead of using Mike Dunham, who was acquired in a trade Thursday night.

New York played for the first time since the announcement that Mike Richter will miss the remainder of the season because of post-concussion symptoms. Blackburn, who allowed four goals on 25 shots, has started every game since Richter was injured Nov. 5.

Tie Domi and Nik Antropov also scored for the resurgent Maple Leafs, who have won eight straight at home and nine of 12 overall. Maple Leafs goalie Ed Belfour had another impressive game, turning aside 36 shots.

CANADIENS 4, BRUINS 2: Richard Zednik, Chad Kilger, Craig Rivet and Yanic Perreault scored to lead host Montreal. Boston, which got goals from Ivan Huml and Marty McInnis, extended its season-high losing streak to three. The Bruins hadn't lost consecutive games before falling 4-2 to Montreal on Tuesday and 5-2 to Ottawa two nights later. A sellout crowd of 21,273 booed Boston captain Joe Thornton repeatedly. Thornton was fined by the NHL -- though not suspended -- for spearing Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov on Tuesday. He drew the crowd's wrath when he took a swing at Montreal captain Saku Koivu after drawing a pair of minor penalties on the same play in the second.

FLYERS 2, SABRES 0: Robert Esche recorded his first shutout and Donald Brashear and Eric Desjardins scored. Esche, obtained last summer from Phoenix as part of the deal that sent Brian Boucher to the Coyotes, was rarely tested in stopping 15 shots. The Flyers pelted Martin Biron with 34 shots while holding the Sabres to their lowest shot total of the season. It was the Flyers' first home shutout in more than a year. Roman Cechmanek beat the Lightning 2-0 on Dec. 1, 2001.

SENATORS 4, DEVILS 3 (OT): Mike Fisher scored 1:50 into overtime as host Ottawa extended its home unbeaten streak to a club-record eight and stretched its unbeaten string to five (4-0-1). The Senators have one loss in 15 games (11-1-3). Senators forward Magnus Arvedson was hit on the inside of his leg by a slap shot 5:11 into the final period and didn't return. Christian Berglund and Ottawa's Martin Havlat traded goals 27 seconds apart soon after Arvedson's exit to force OT.

BLUES 4, THRASHERS 0: Brent Johnson earned his first shutout of the season, and Tyson Nash scored his first goal to spark host St. Louis. Johnson made his first start at home this season and helped stretch Atlanta's losing streak to six games. Johnson stopped 32 shots in earning his 10th career shutout.

RED WINGS 6, BLUE JACKETS 4: Sergei Fedorov had two goals and an assist one day after his 33rd birthday for host Detroit.

PREDATORS 3, WILD 1: Scott Walker scored a pair of goals, one on the power play, for host Nashville. ... Minnesota forward Bill Muckalt will have surgery on his dislocated right shoulder and may miss the rest of the regular season.

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