OTTAWA (AP) _ Ed Belfour has backstopped the Toronto Maple Leafs back to home-ice advantage.
The Maple Leafs hold a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Ottawa.
Belfour kept Toronto in the game in the first when Ottawa held a 13-4 advantage in shots, and shut the door on the Senators with 17 saves in the third as Ottawa outshot Toronto 37-17 overall.
``Fortunately I had a good view of most of the shots in the first and I just kept working hard, and it worked out,'' Belfour said.
Joe Nieuwendyk scored his second goal of the playoffs early in the second period. Mats Sundin added a goal on a two-on-one rush in the third, scoring on one of only two shots by Toronto in the period.
``We kind of weathered the storm early on, in big part thanks to Eddie,'' Nieuwendyk said. ``He made some incredible saves for us, but that's sometimes what you get in playoff hockey where one team throws everything at you and get nothing for it, and you find away to hang in there and chip away and eventually we got the goals we needed.''
Belfour has held Ottawa scoreless for 138:21. He made 31 saves for his first Toronto playoff shutout Saturday in a 2-0 win that gave the Maple Leafs a split of the first two home games of the series.
``I've seen it before with him,'' said Nieuwendyk, who won a Stanley Cup with Belfour for Dallas in 1999. ``He really enjoys this time of year and he's playing with a lot of focus. He prepares himself better than any goalie I've ever played with so it's a very positive thing for our squad.''
Belfour, who will be 39 on April 21, got his 84th career playoff win to keep pace with New Jersey's Martin Brodeur for the lead among active goalies.
It was his 13th career playoff shutout, moving him past Dominik Hasek into second place among active goalies behind Brodeur.
``With experience you're bound to get better somehow, as long you work hard at it, stay healthy and keep your focus,'' Belfour said.
The Senators haven't scored since Marian Hossa got his second goal of the game 1:39 into the third period of a 4-2 win in Thursday's series opener in Toronto.
``He's a very good goalie, let's not kid ourselves, but we're a very good team,'' Senators forward Bryan Smolinski said. ``We've got some scorers and we're going to look at it and see where we can make some adjustments. We're screening him and he's making some great saves.
``We've just got to keep pounding the puck to the net, I mean one of them is going to go in and once we get one, we're going to get a bunch.''
The laconic Belfour displayed rare wit when he was asked if he thought he was getting inside the Senators' heads.
``I don't worry about things like that, I focus on my own game,'' Belfour said. ``That's psychology.''
Nieuwendyk, who scored the first goal of the series 3:15 into that game, beat Ottawa goalie Patrick Lalime with a one-timer 1:30 into the second.
``It was a great shot _ what are you going to say?'' Lalime said.
Sundin missed a chance to put Toronto up by two goals 12:12 into the second period when his shot off a scramble struck Senators defenseman Zdeno Chara _ who was penalized for interference on the play _ squarely in the backside of his pants.
The sellout Corel Centre crowd of 18,500 waved white towels to encourage the Senators. But it was the Maple Leafs who came alive, and this time Sundin didn't squander his opportunity.
Breaking down the right side off the ensuing faceoff in the Toronto zone, Sundin elected to shoot on a two-on-one and beat Lalime with 5:44 left to silence the crowd.
``Mats always seems to come up with those big goals, and it was sure appreciated,'' Belfour said.
|Joe Nieuwendyk (2) ASST: Ron Francis (2)|
1 - 0 TOR
|Mats Sundin (1) ASST: NONE|
2 - 0 TOR
|Nik Antropov Hooking against Marian Hossa|
|Chris Neil Roughing against Darcy Tucker|
|Darcy Tucker Roughing against Chris Neil|
|Brian Pothier Interference against Chad Kilger|
|Darcy Tucker Roughing against Vaclav Varada|
|Chris Phillips Interference - Obstruction against Chad Kilger|
|Patrick Lalime Holding the stick against Tie Domi|
|Zdeno Chara Interference against Darcy Tucker|
|Brian Leetch Interference|