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Belfour gets second straight shutout

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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TORONTO (Ticker) -- Chants of "Eddie, Eddie" are becoming a nightly occurrence at the Air Canada Centre.

Ed Belfour recorded his second straight shutout and Darcy Tucker broke out of a slump with a goal and two assists, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to their fourth win in five games, a 6-0 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Ed Belfour is neck-and-neck with Patrick Roy as the active NHL shutouts leader.
Graig Abel Photography
Signed as a free agent in the offseason to replace the popular Curtis Joseph, Belfour was slow to win over the fans in Toronto.

But he heard the chants throughout his league-leading third shutout of the season and 61st of his career, tying Colorado's Patrick Roy for tops among active goaltenders.

"It's nice to be back up there and competing against Patrick," Belfour said.

The cheering reached a crescendo as Belfour helped kill a late power play with a left pad save on Keith Primeau. He finished with 25 saves and has posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since recording three in a row for the Dallas Stars from November 17-24, 2000.

"You keep working hard and hopefully, you win their support," Belfour said. "When they chant my name, it is a confidence booster. We put in a great effort, especially on the penalty-kill."

Playing before a nationwide audience on "Hockey Night in Canada," Belfour did not need any added incentive. But he made his first appearance against former coach Ken Hitchcock, with whom he did not always see eye-to-eye.

"It's the first time playing against Hitch since Dallas, so it was fun," Belfour said. "The guys played great in front of me.

Twenty guys are working and we are playing better defensively."

Tucker had just two points in his previous 14 games but surpassed that total with an assist on Alexander Mogilny's goal late in the third period. Tucker also set up defenseman Jyrki Lumme's goal early in the first and scored on the power play late in the second.

Robert Reichel collected three assists for Toronto, which has won four of its last five at home.

"He played great tonight," Tucker said. "He's been killing penalties and doing things to help us win hockey games that don't always show up on the scoresheet. So it's nice to see him produce."

The Maple Leafs chased Roman Cechmanek early in the third period and dropped the Flyers to 1-3-4 in their last eight games.

Philadelphia has scored just 10 goals during that stretch.

"We can't depend on our goaltending," Flyers center Jeremy Roenick said. "We've been deteriorating over the past two weeks, starting with our special teams and moving right on down.

So you can expect something like you saw tonight."

Philadelphia was 0-for-4 on the power play and has just one goal in its last 34 chances over nine games.

"It becomes a mental thing when you've got skilled players not able to do their job," Flyers right wing Mark Recchi said. "But we need guys to work through this. We've gotten away from what we do best, but there should be no excuses."

Lumme scored the only goal Belfour needed on the power play 2:34 into the first period when his shot from the left point hit Flyers defenseman Eric Weinrich and deflected past Cechmanek.

Hoglund finished off a 2-on-1 by converting Reichel's cross-ice pass just over two minutes into the second and Tucker worked a give-and-go with Reichel before beating Cechmanek between the pads.

"We played some strong hockey tonight," Tucker said. "Every time out there, we were trying to give some hits and create some chances. We had some good jump tonight. We seem to do the little things well when we don't have a full squad."

Tie Domi scored at 1:49 to spark a three-goal third period and end the night for Cechmanek, who surrendered four goals on 13 shots.

"Roman's been terrific," Recchi said. "We didn't give him any support tonight. All of their goals were on good shots."
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