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Leafs drop Habs as Sittler honoured

Saturday, 02.8.2003 / 12:00 AM ET / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
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Leafs drop Habs as Sittler honoured
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TORONTO (Ticker) -- From one Toronto Maple Leafs' captain to another.

On the night they raised Darryl Sittler's No. 27 to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre, the Maple Leafs extended their winning streak to a season-high five games with a 3-1 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens as Mats Sundin scored twice.

Sittler, the leading scorer in the franchise's storied history, was honored during an emotional pregame ceremony as his number joined those worn by Turk Broda, Johnny Bower, Bill Barilko, Ace Bailey, King Clancy, Tim Horton, Charlie Conacher, Ted Kennedy, Syl Apps and George Armstrong above the rink at the ACC.

"There were tears, obviously, and a lot of pride and all of the great memories I had as a Maple Leaf and the way the fans treated me here and the friends that I have had throughout my career," said Sittler, a Hall of Famer who played for Toronto from 1970-82. "Hey, it was a special night, and these nights don't come along very often in anyone's life."

Nik Antropov, Mats Sundin and Alex Mogilny had another strong game.
Graig Abel photography
Five captains removed from Sittler, Sundin opened the scoring with a power-play goal late in the first period and made it 2-0 early in the second.

"He is another fellow that fits into a long line of great leaders this organization has had," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said of Sundin.

Defenseman Jyrki Lumme also scored and Alexander Mogilny and Nik Antropov each picked up two assists for Toronto, which had not won five in a row since December 6-15, 2001.

"It wasn't the best hockey game, but we got the job done," Sundin said. "We'll take the points and remember the night for what it was - Darryl's night."

Ed Belfour was headed toward his league-leading seventh shutout, but a giveaway by Mogilny led to Jan Bulis' goal with 3:45 to go in the third period.

"Sometimes things work out, sometimes things don't," said Belfour, who made 32 saves.

Bulis' goal was the lone bright spot for Montreal, which has lost four straight to fall to 3-4-2-1 under new coach Claude Julien.

"Frustration shows when you lose a few in a row," Julien said.

"I think the guys want to win badly enough, but they're trying to find ways. When things don't go well, you don't get the breaks, and I think that's frustrating. But we've got to battle through it."

Montreal generated little offense early and took consecutive penalties late in the first period. With 78 seconds to go on their second power play, the Maple Leafs took the lead.

Defenseman Tomas Kaberle snuck in from the point, clearing room in front of the net for Sundin. He got a feed from behind the net from Mogilny and snapped a shot over the right shoulder of goaltender Jose Theodore.

Just 1:50 into the second period, Sundin got a pass from Mikael Renberg at the center-ice red line, outraced defenseman Stephane Quintal and beat Theodore between the pads on a breakaway.

"When you leave a guy like Mats Sundin with a lot of time, he's going to do what he did. And then on the breakaway, I thought he was going on his backhand and he fooled me with a quick little move," Theodore said. "When you leave guys like Mogilny and Sundin, they're going to make you pay."

Lumme extended Toronto's lead to 3-0 with 8:56 to go in the second. He crashed the net and converted another centering pass from Mogilny into his fifth goal of the season and second in three games.

"Right now, all the lines are playing well. It's a good feeling in the room," Lumme said. "We're doing a lot of good things.

But we still have to realize it's a long way to go."

Canadiens defenseman Patrice Brisebois was hospitalized before the game after experiencing chest pains during warmups. He will stay overnight for observation.

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