OTTAWA (AP) - Whatever changes Tuesday's trading deadline brings to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mats Sundin's teammates are happy their captain is staying on board.
Vesa Toskala made 31 saves for his third shutout and Darcy Tucker scored two second-period power-play goals, leading Toronto to a 5-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.
After exercising his no-trade clause to veto any potential deal away from the Maple Leafs with the deadline looming, Sundin scored on the power play in the first period.
"I think everybody's kind of happy," Toskala said. "We know what's going to happen now. We don't have to guess anymore and I think that relaxed the room a little bit more."
Asked if he was concerned he might be dealt, Toskala also expressed a desire to stay put.
"It's always a possibility," Toskala said. "So many players are going to get traded, but it hasn't crossed my mind and that's something I hope I don't have to worry about."
Toronto converted each of its first three opportunities with the man advantage.
Pavel Kubina and Dominic Moore scored even-strength goals in the second as the Maple Leafs beat Ray Emery four times in the middle period to seal Toronto's third straight win against its provincial rival.
"We've played pretty well since we've had a fuller, healthier lineup, especially with our defense," Tucker said. "Vesa's played great for us in net and our defense has played well and given us an opportunity to win every night. That's obviously the team that everyone expected us to be."
Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle stopped Mike Fisher's shot at a wide-open net with 1:02 remaining to preserve Toskala's 11th career shutout.
"I think I owe him a beer," Toskala said
Toronto has won four of five.
Emery stopped 16 of 21 shots in the first two periods for Ottawa, which blew an opportunity to regain the Eastern Conference lead.
The Senators, who got off to an NHL record 13-1 start, remain atop the Northeast Division with 78 points, one less than New Jersey, which took over the conference lead Sunday.
"We've been there all year and we know our play has slipped as of late, and the only way you can cure that is to get wins, and we didn't do that tonight," said Ottawa defenseman Luke Richardson, who played his 1,400th regular season game. "Now we're below, so now we have something to strive for."
Martin Gerber replaced Emery after the second session and stopped all six shots.
Sundin released a statement Sunday that he would exercise his no-trade clause to veto any deadline deal and remain with Toronto, which is last in the Northeast with 63 points and on the verge of missing the playoffs for a third year in a row.
|Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala made 31 saves in shutting out the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)|
"I would think that it was a positive effect," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "Regardless of what happens, everybody understands that it's business, but even in that locker room, these guys do it all together. They've had some rough goes this year and they're doing that together and when one of the - maybe the - key guy says, 'I'm staying with you,' that feels pretty good."
The Maple Leafs captain opened the scoring on Toronto's first power play 8:19 in when he deflected Kaberle's shot past Emery from the left side of the net.
"We know what it means for him to play here," Tucker said.
Tucker made it 2-0 when he scored the Maple Leafs' second straight goal with the man advantage. Kubina got Toronto's third goal and Tucker increased the lead to 4-0 with his second goal of the game and 14th of the season with 2 seconds remaining in Jason Spezza's minor for interfering with Toskala.
Matt Stajan assisted on each of Toronto's first three goals of the second period, tying the franchise record for most assists in a period.
"I got some good bounces tonight and Darcy did a good job of putting the puck in the net," Stajan said.
Moore scored the Maple Leafs' fourth goal of the period.
Notes: Sundin was the most recent of several Maple Leafs to record three assists in the same period. He had three assists in the first period of a 4-2 win over Atlanta on Oct. 30, 2006. ... Richardson began his career with Toronto in 1987 after he was chosen seventh overall by the Maple Leafs in the draft. The Ottawa native has also played with Edmonton, Philadelphia, Columbus and Tampa Bay.