Belfour returns from injury to help end Maple Leafs' losing streak
By wire services
Published February 29, 2004
TORONTO - Ed Belfour returned to the Maple Leafs lineup after missing 11 of 12 games and beat the Devils 3-0 on Saturday.
Belfour, plagued by a sore back, had 17 saves for his sixth shutout of the season and the 71st overall, putting him in a tie with Harry Lumley for 10th all-time. He is three shutouts behind New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, who is first among active goalies.
"It didn't bother me during the game," Belfour said of his injury. "The next day is important. Nobody has a crystal ball to be able tell you what is going to happen the next day. I'm just going to do the best I can."
Brodeur said he wasn't too impressed with Belfour's performance.
"He barely saw 10 quality shots," he said. "The rest were dump-ins. You're not going to beat a goalie with that lack of quality."
Toronto, playing without Gary Roberts for the eighth consecutive game because of a strained groin, ended a season-high three-game losing skid. New Jersey has lost two straight.
Karel Pilar, Darcy Tucker and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored in the first for Toronto, which outshot New Jersey 16-3 during the period.
Brodeur made a sprawling save midway through the first but couldn't recover in time to stop Pilar's one-timer from the blue line at 9:25.
Tucker's one-timer from the side on the net during a power play made it 2-0 with 1:25 left. Just 19 seconds later, Ponikarovsky backhanded a rebound past Brodeur.
Fans, worried Belfour's injury might wreck Toronto's chances to win its first Stanley Cup title since 1967, chanted "Eddie! Eddie!" in the final minutes.
"I wasn't concerned about Eddie," said forward Joe Nieuwendyk, also a teammate of Belfour's with Dallas. "I've seen it before in Dallas. He's the kind of guy that you leave alone. He knows what he needs to do to get ready."
New Jersey also lost defenseman Brian Rafalski. He bruised his leg when checked into the net. His status was unknown.
JACKETS 5, AVALANCHE 4 (OT): David Vyborny had a goal and four assists, including on Jaroslav Spacek's one-timer 3:24 into overtime, for host Columbus. It was the Blue Jackets' first victory over the Avalanche after going 0-13-1.
After John-Michael Liles' hooking penalty at 3:03, Spacek's first one-timer was blocked. But he reloaded and beat Philippe Sauve from the point after taking a pass from Andrew Cassels, who had two assists.
With Colorado up 2-0, Paul Kariya was stopped by Columbus' Marc Denis on a penalty shot. Denis kicked it away with his right foot. The shot was awarded because a Blue Jacket fell on the puck in the crease during a wild scramble at 10:27.
Vyborny made it 2-1 4:32 later, putting in his rebound. Just 25 seconds later, Vyborny flipped the puck high from the neutral zone and right to a streaking Geoff Sanderson, who scored on a breakaway.
But after falling behind, the Avalanche tied with 2:21 left when Milan Hejduk rebounded Rob Blake's shot that hit the post.
BRUINS 3, FLYERS 2 (OT): Glen Murray scored 1:21 into overtime and Andrew Raycroft tied for the most wins by a rookie goaltender in 22 years for host Boston, which is 9-1-3-3 in its past 16. Raycroft stopped 26 shots for his 22nd win, matching Marco Baron's in 1981-82.
Philadelphia tied 8:45 into the third on Alexei Zhamnov's rising shot from between the circles. But Murray took a loose puck in the Flyers zone and his wrist shot from the slot deflected in off goalie Robert Esche, who made his first start since Feb. 2 (sprained left knee).
SENATORS 7, SABRES 1: Bryan Smolinski had a goal and two assists for host Ottawa, whose coach, Jacques Martin, moved one victory from becoming the 14th to reach 400. Tied at 1, the Senators had three unanswered goals in the second, including two in 32 seconds, as they outshot the Sabres 16-5. Wade Redden scored with 8:42 left while Buffalo's Taylor Pyatt served a four-minute high-sticking penalty. Smolinski and Zdeno Chara then struck quickly to make it 4-1.
PREDATORS 2, RANGERS 1 (OT): Andrew Hutchinson scored 3:50 into overtime for host Nashville, which has won five of six. Matthew Barnaby tied it for the Rangers 4:44 into the third, tapping in a pass from Greg de Vries. But during a four-minute power play, Hutchinson scored on a one-timer from the top of the left circle off a pass from Kimmo Timonen.
CANADIENS 1, 'CANES 0 (OT): Mike Ribeiro scored 3:38 into overtime for host Montreal. His 17th goal came from the right edge of the crease when he redirected Andrei Markov's pass from the left side.
KINGS 2, DUCKS 1: Luc Robitaille was involved in both goals for host Los Angeles. With 5:14 left in the first, Robitaille beat Samuel Pahlsson to a loose puck, and his shot was rebounded and put in by Tomas Zizka. Robitaille made it 2-0 8:21 into the second, snapping a shot from the slot over Jean-Sebastien Giguere's glove.
STARS: Left wing Shayne Corson was activated after coming out of retirement. Right wing Scott Young was put on injured reserve after having back spasms Wednesday.
WILD: Center Wes Walz signed a three-year extension. One of eight original players, he has 11 goals and 22 points and is one of the league's best defensive forwards. The Associated Press reported the deal is worth $5.8-million.
[Last modified February 29, 2004, 01:15:11]
Soul satiates Bon Jovi's need
BaseballNew 1B Lee gets three years to help Cubs get over the hump
Phillies letting Bell set own pace
Black History MonthGreat obligations
College basketballAlabama continues to rebound
Pirates pull away from USF
Duke in the way of dream
Spartans' streak at 5
Stanford: 25 in row
UAB tops Golden Eagles
S.C. St. too much for B-CC
EditorialRant: Tired of innuendo? Prove you're clean and we'll move on
GolfMatch Play's final pits Woods vs. Love
Horse racingFlorida-bred victorious in the Baldwin
In briefDevers double a first
MotorsportsFirst IRL pole for Rice, Rahal
NBABlazerless playoff? Not so fast
McGrady hurts ankle as Magic snaps 2-game skid
NFLCapologists must wear many caps
Adjustments in cap can change the bill
Belfour returns from injury to help end Maple Leafs' losing streak
OutdoorsDaily fishing report
Two boat-racing circuits coming
PrepsBrandon better than ever
Countryside trio grabs elusive prize
Leopard, Ram capture crowns
Plant going to state after a great escape
Berkeley Prep claims state title
Encore for Enriquez: tops in state again
For East Lake, it's better late than ever
It's clear sailing for Clearwater
Lecanto wins as a team
Sports in printFour Times writers rated among the nation's best
Letters to the Editor: Pro golf amateurs
RaysTo Gaudin, there is no 'can't'
Tokyo trip may rush Rays' hand
Zambrano gets opening start
BucsConcerns go beyond receivers
Keyshawn weekends in Dallas
LightningLightning's late goal puts away energetic Caps
Modin gets back to 20-goal plateau