-- Ed Belfour broke the team record with his 37th win, stopping 20 shots to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 2-1 triumph over the Minnesota Wild.
Belfour had to make just four saves in the third period to eclipse the mark he shared with Curtis Joseph. But he came up with a big stop on Sergei Zholtok with 11 seconds to play.
"I just tried to stay focused on the puck and come up with the saves," Belfour said. "I had a little bit of luck, too, and made a nice cross-the-crease leg save, which I don't usually make.
I'm glad it worked out."
| Mikael Renberg returned to the Leafs lineup and notched his 14th of the season in the first. |
Graig Abel Photography
The record-breaking victory came two nights after Belfour became the seventh goaltender in NHL history with 400 wins.
"(Belfour) made a couple of saves there. I thought we had at least three great chances that we didn't score," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "He was great on them."
"Belfour has been a great goalie his whole career. He's getting fired up for the playoffs," Minnesota defenceman Nick Schultz added. "That's what you need in the playoffs, good goaltending to be successful."
Defenceman Aki Berg scored the go-ahead goal with 3:53 remaining, firing a slap shot from the left hashmark that hit goaltender Manny Fernandez's left pad before going into the net.
It gave the Maple Leafs their fourth straight win and extended their unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1).
Mikael Renberg returned to the lineup and scored his first goal since February 20 with 4:17 left in the opening period. He converted a feed from Robert Reichel, who registered his 600th NHL point.
Toronto got a scare when captain Mats Sundin was hit in the mouth with a clearing attempt by teammate Richard Jackman midway through the opening period.
"He had extensive damage to his lip, teeth and gums, upper and lower teeth," coach Pat Quinn said. "He'll be seeing a dentist. He had a permanent plate in there that was all busted. He had a real good whack. It's split from lip to nose, including the muscle.
"He's going to miss the next little while, Saturday anyway. There is inside and outside stitching to heal that up. It'll affect what he eats."
Sundin did not return and had a four-game goal-scoring streak snapped.
Berg called the injury "scary," while Renberg said, "It seemed like the puck hit Mats pretty hard. Hopefully, it's not too bad."
The Wild had the only goal of the middle period when Andrew Brunette passed from behind the net to Pascal Dupuis, who scored on the power play to reach the 20-goal mark.
"We've been struggling a bit lately," Dupuis said. "But tonight's effort kind of brought us back on track."
Toronto is locked into fifth place in the Eastern Conference and will face New Jersey or Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs.
Minnesota is headed to the postseason for the first time in team history. The Wild are seventh in the West, one point behind Anaheim and two in front of Edmonton.
"Tonight was a big game for us," Schultz said. "We needed those points. We wanted to try to jump ahead of Anaheim and get the sixth spot."