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Leafs come off break with convincing win in Sunrise

Wednesday, 05.02.2003 / 12:00 AM / News
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Leafs come off break with convincing win in Sunrise
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SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- A little rest paid off for Toronto Maple Leafs teammates Ed Belfour and Mats Sundin.

Belfour stopped 33 shots for his sixth shutout of the season and Sundin had a goal and an assist, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-0 rout of the Florida Panthers.

Belfour and Sundin pulled out of All-Star Weekend at the Office Depot Center, reportedly to rest injuries that sidelined them early last month. The decision generated controversy but paid dividends in Toronto's first game after the All-Star break.

"Both teams were rusty off the break and there was no flow in the game," Sundin said. "We'll take the points. We did get goals from almost all the lines, and that's a great sign for us."

Alyn McCauley was in a little rumble with Peter Worrell, Yikes!.
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Coming off consecutive wins, Belfour grabbed the lead among active goaltenders with his 64th career shutout, one ahead of Colorado's Patrick Roy.

"The guys played very well defensively in front of me," said Belfour, who blanked Pittsburgh and Philadelphia by the same score earlier this season. "I was a little bit rusty playing the puck, lost it a few times, but fortunately, it didn't end up in the net."

Sundin was one of three Maple Leafs with two points, joining Robert Reichel and defeseman Jyrki Lumme.

"The timing for the first and second goals were perfect for us," Lumme said. "When that happened, it took the wind out of their sails."

Reichel scored the only goal Belfour needed with five seconds left in the first period when his shot from the blue line trickled between the pads of goalie Roberto Luongo.

"Obviously, you never want to give up goals like that at the end of the period," Luongo said. "It was going toward my blocker side, the puck just dropped and I didn't close up on time. I tried to react, but I wasn't quick enough."

"Well, that was a tough one on the end of the period," coach Mike Keenan added. "That set us back a little bit."

Sundin doubled the lead just 25 seconds after intermission and defensemen Wade Belak and Tomas Kaberle made it 4-0 before the second period was 4 1/2 minutes old. Belak's goal was his first in 65 games since New Year's Eve 2001.

"I thought we were going to recover OK," Keenan said. "Then Mats Sundin got in behind our defense on the first shift and that was pretty much the hockey game."

Luongo surrendered three goals on 16 shots and was replaced early in the second period by Jani Hurme, who agreed to a three-year contract extension before the game.
Darcy Tucker set up third-period goals by Shayne Corson and Lumme as Toronto won for the fifth time in its last six road games.

"There was some lucky scoring, too," Leafs coach Pat Quinn said.

"Let's face it, we had a couple of breaks there."
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