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Sundin Cinches It For Leafs

Tuesday, 03.2.2004 / 10:47 PM ET / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
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Sundin Cinches It For Leafs
Vs. BOS: Scoring | Stats

Leafs Lines:

Pairings: McCabe-Berehowsky, Kaberle-Klee, Berg-Pilar
Belfour (w 60:00, 19 SV, 2 GA), Kidd (0:00)
Belak (knee)
Healthy scratches:
Johnson, Marchment, Perrott, Fitzgerald


TORONTO (AP) -- Mats Sundin's clutch play put the Toronto Maple Leafs into a four-way tie for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Sundin scored twice to help the Maple Leafs beat Boston 3-2 Tuesday night and move ahead of the Bruins atop the Northeast Division.

The Toronto captain's second goal gave Toronto a 3-2 lead with 6:44 left. He leads the NHL in winning goals (10) and third-period points (33). The Maple Leafs are tied with Ottawa, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay for first overall in the Eastern Conference with 84 points. Boston has 82.

"I've never seen anything like it. It shows how competitive the league is now," Sundin said. "It's going to stay this way right until the end."

Toronto's Ed Belfour appeared headed for his second straight shutout after missing 11 of 12 games, but Martin Lapointe spoiled the bid with a goal just 17 seconds into the third.

Boston's Joe Thornton tied it five minutes later, but Sundin skated in unchecked before putting the puck between goalie Andrew Raycroft's pads.

Ed Belfour was there for the Leafs when they needed him.
(Graig Abel Photography)

"Mats always comes up with the big goals for us," Belfour said. "How many times has he scored a big goal for us night after night? It's not surprising."

Belfour, plagued recently by a sore back, made 19 saves including several impressive stops in the final two minutes. Fans chanted "Eddie!, Eddie!" in the final seconds. Belfour stopped 17 shots in Saturday's 3-0 victory over New Jersey.

Toronto outshot New Jersey 16-3 in the opening 20 minutes of that game, and the Maple Leafs outshot Boston 18-7 in the first period Tuesday.

"We have to find a way to get ourselves going earlier," Raycroft said. "Every game is big."

Sundin gave Toronto a 1-0 lead from the side of the net after Toronto won a faceoff less than three minutes in.

Alexei Ponikarovsky's shot deflected off the skate of Boston defenseman Nick Boynton and in at 1:51 of the second.

Lapointe shot the puck in off Belfour's skate as he skated behind the net, and Thornton tied it just over five minutes later by putting his own rebound past Belfour.

The second period featured three fights after Toronto's Bryan McCabe checked Thornton into the boards in the second. Boynton went after Belfour and fought Toronto's Drake Berehowksy.

After McCabe left the penalty box for his boarding infraction, Thornton sent him to the ice in a one-sided fight.

About three minutes later, Toronto's Gary Roberts fought ex-teammate Travis Green, who didn't look like he wanted to fight after he dropped his gloves.

Game Notes: Roberts returned after missing eight games due to a torn groin muscle. Roberts is second on the Maple Leafs with 22 goals. ... The teams meet again on March 16 in Toronto and on March 25 in Boston.

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