Leafs Make Good In Trip Finale
November 22, 2003
VANCOUVER (CP) - The Toronto Maple Leafs did something on Saturday that no other team has been able to accomplish all season - they beat the Canucks in Vancouver.
Gary Roberts scored two goals and Ed Belfour made 25 saves as the Leafs snapped the Canucks' home-ice unbeaten streak at 10 games with a 5-3 win.
The victory also allowed Toronto to wrap up its six-game road trip on a winning note after going 0-2-2-1.
"The guys were really determined tonight," said Belfour, who picked up his sixth win of the season. "We all talked about how important it was for us to get back on track. Tonight we just kept working and working and things went our way."
Robert Reichel scored once and added an assist for Toronto, now two games above .500 with a record of 8-6-5-2.
Owen Nolan scored his second goal in 14 games while Mats Sundin had an empty-netter 55 seconds after Todd Bertuzzi had pulled the Canucks to within one goal late in the game.
"It's nice that we got things going," Roberts said. "It's been a tough trip for us. We're all pressing a little bit, we all feel responsible. (The Canucks) are a great team and they made it close but we were able to pull it out."
Markus Naslund ended his eight-game scoring drought with his eighth goal of the season for Vancouver, which had set a franchise record by going 9-0-1-0 at home to start the season.
Trevor Linden and Bertuzzi also scored for the Canucks (12-5-2-2) while Dan Cloutier made 23 saves after surrendering goals on Toronto's first two shots.
"We knew they would be fired up for this game," said Canucks centre Brendan Morrison. "There was a lot of talk about them not playing well but they were in every game they lost."
The injury-plagued Leafs got the win despite being without Alexander Mogilny (hip), Wade Belak (abdominal), Nik Antropov (shoulder) and Joe Nieuwendyk (back).
The team also lost right-winter Nathan Perrott, who was kicked out of the game at the end of the first period for hitting Artem Chubarov from behind near the Canucks bench. Chubarov, who missed a game early last week with a shoulder injury, was down on the ice for several minutes and didn't return to the game. He later went to hospital for x-rays.
The two teams will square off again on Monday in Toronto.
For the third time in as many games, the Canucks fell behind 2-0 early as the Leafs scored twice in the first 2:46 of play.
Seconds after Tie Domi and Bryan Allen went toe-to-toe, Roberts tipped in a point shot from Bryan McCabe. Then Reichel made it 2-0 when his wrist shot got through a screen of players and past Cloutier.
"Our starts have been horrible," said Morrison. "Tonight it caught up with us."
The Canucks managed to pull even before the end of the period, scoring first on a delayed penalty then again on the power play.
On the first goal, Brent Sopel took a slap shot from the point that deflected hard off the end boards and bounced right to Naslund, who one-timed the puck behind Belfour.
Then, with under a minute to go in the frame, Bertuzzi took the puck into the corner then passed it out front to Linden, who went down on one knee to roof it into the Toronto goal.
The game stayed tied until 4:18 into the third period. The Leafs got off a handful of shots on Cloutier before Nolan, left unguarded at the side of the net, jammed in Matt Stajan's rebound for his fourth goal of the season.
Roberts then restored the two-goal lead when he scooped up the puck from a scrum along the boards, skated in a huge arc before pulling the puck to his forehand and gliding it along the ice past Cloutier.
With the goaltender out for the extra attacker, Bertuzzi scored to make it 4-3 before Sundin stripped the puck from Mattias Ohlund and hit the empty goal.
"They're not going to be happy with tonight's results and they're going to be ready for us (on Monday)," Nolan said. "They've got a really good hockey team over there, you can see all the talent they have. We expect a tougher game."
Notes: Former Canuck Harold Druken, called up on Friday by the Maple Leafs, picked up an assist on Nolan's goal . . . Canucks agitator Jarkko Ruutu was assessed two diving penalties in the game . . . Trevor Linden played in his 1,100th game on Saturday. He needs just 18 more points to become the all-time leading scorer in Canucks history . . . The Canucks played in front of a packed house for 11 of their home games so far, putting them on pace to pass their club record of 37 sellouts last season . . . Vancouver failed to beat the Leafs last season, going 0-2-1.