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Canucks, Leafs End Season Series

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
November 24, 2003

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (12-5-2-2) at Toronto Maple Leafs (8-6-5-2).

TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

 The Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks may be a little tired as they close out a home-and-home series.

After winning at GM Place on Saturday night, the Maple Leafs go for a sweep of the two-game set 2,700 miles away at the Air Canada Centre.

Toronto earned a much-needed 5-3 victory in the opener, finally picking up a win in the finale of a six-game western road swing (1-2-2-1).

Owen Nolan snapped a tie 4:18 into the third period, and Gary Roberts scored his second goal of the game five minutes later to lift the Leafs.

"Everyone seems to be selling us short just because we had one bad road trip," Nolan said. "We're not selling ourselves short here. We feel we've got a good hockey team. It's a gritty team in here and it's a long season. Every team goes through a bit of a slump. Hopefully this will help us swing out of it."

Todd Bertuzzi pulled Vancouver to within a goal with 1:33 remaining, but Toronto's Mats Sundin scored into an empty net with 36 seconds remaining as the teams avoided overtime before making long flights across the continent.

"It was a big win," said the Leafs' Ed Belfour, who made 25 saves. "We're a veteran team and we have to step up and show leadership and play our best every night."

The loss was Vancouver's first at home (9-1-1). Naslund ended an eight-game goal drought for the Canucks, and Trevor Linden also scored for Vancouver.

"It was a pretty poor performance," Naslund said. "We've gotten away with it a few games where we realized we didn't play well but still won. We need to change that and we need to change it quickly."

The Canucks may have been tired even before making the long trip to Toronto. Vancouver had played four straight overtime games before Saturday.

The Canucks, two points ahead of Colorado for the Northwest Division lead, will be opening a four-game, six-day trip through Canada that will also take them to Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary.

After Monday's contest, the Leafs head back to the road for a three-game trip.

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