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Belfour Named Defensive Player of the Week

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
NEW YORK (Jan. 26, 2004) -- Colorado Avalanche right wing Milan Hejduk, who recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) and a +8 rating in four road games, has been named the NHL's Offensive Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday, Jan. 25. The Avalanche (28-11-8-2,66 points) posted a 3-0-1-0 record and moved into first place in the League's overall standings.


Toronto goaltender Ed Belfour, who helped the Maple Leafs remain first in the Eastern Conference by recording three consecutive victories, a 1.00 goals-against average, .952 save percentage and one shutout, has been named the League's top defensive player.

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (3-5--8 in four games), Ottawa Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson (4-3-7 in four games) and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim center Vaclav Prospal (5-1-6 in four games) were runners-up for offensive honors, while New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro (3-0-0, 1.33 goals-against average, one shutout), Ottawa Senators defenseman Zdeno Chara (2-2--4, +8 in four games) and Mighty Ducks defenseman Niclas Havelid (0-6--6, +2 in four games) were runners-up for the defensive award.

Hejduk tallied a season-high four points (two goals, two assists),  including a penalty-shot goal in overtime, and a +3 rating in a 5-4 victory at Tampa Bay Jan. 19. Hejduk's penalty-shot goal was just the third to decide a regular-season game in overtime and was his second successful penalty shot in eight days -- the quickest pair in NHL history by one player. Hejduk also posted two points (one goal, one assist) and a +3 rating in a come-from-behind 6-5 victory at Florida Jan. 21 and had a pair of assists and +2 rating in a 5-3 victory at Pittsburgh Jan. 24.

The Avalanche, who have won a League-record nine consecutive division titles, hold a three-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks in the  Northwest Division in their quest for a 10th consecutive crown. The Avalanche have just one regulation loss in their past 13 games (10-1-1-1).

Belfour made 25 saves in a 2-0 victory over the New York Islanders  Jan. 20, his fifth shutout of the season and 70th of his career. Belfour turned aside 21 shots in a 3-2 victory at Washington Jan. 21 and stopped 14 of 15 shots in a 4-1 victory at Montreal Jan. 24.

Belfour improved his season record to 22-14-5 in 41 games and increased his career regular-season victories total to 423, tying Tony  Esposito for fourth place on the all-time list. The Maple Leafs (27-12-8-3, 65 points) are second to the Avalanche in the League's overall standings.

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