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Defence dominant in Leafs win

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs still may be searching for a long-term replacement for Curtis Joseph, but Corey Schwab is developing into a solid short-term solution.

Schwab stopped 16 shots and Darcy Tucker scored twice, including the go-ahead power-play goal late in the second period, as the Maple Leafs tightened things at the top of the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Schwab has given up just two goals in the last two games and is 2-2-2 since Joseph suffered a broken finger on February 26.

"I thought I needed to make some saves early," Schwab said. "I felt better last night because I was fresher. When you play back-to-back games, you get fatigued. I do think it helped to play a lot and get used to it."

"There is a lot of pressure for him to play well and he has handled it very well," Tucker added. "We have to bear down as a team around him. We have to continue to play a more defensive style once we get the lead."

Darcy Tucker potted two goals in Philly.
Tucker ended a 10-game goal-scoring drought 9 1/2 minutes into the first period, then broke a 1-1 tie with 3:36 left in the second.

Gary Roberts added an empty-netter in the final minute for the Maple Leafs, who concluded a 2-1-1 road trip and inched within a point of first-place Boston in the Northeast Division. They are four points behind Philadelphia for the top spot in the East.

"It was a huge win for us, coming in here aafter our travel didn't work out the best for us last night," Schwab said. "We were pretty tired. Anytime you can get a win on the road, especially as shorthanded as we are, it's great."

Defenseman Eric Desjardins scored a shorthanded goal, but the Flyers have lost three of their last five games, including two in a row at home.

"They hung around too long," Philadelphia coach Bill Barber said. "They play the night before and we don't answer the bell."

Goalless since January 30, Tucker got his second of the game to break a 1-1 tie with 3:36 left in the second period. With Flyers captain Keith Primeau serving a roughing penalty, Tucker got a pass in the slot from Shayne Corson and lifted a shot over goaltender Brian Boucher's glove.

"We tried to work the power play around," Tucker explained. "We didn't have much success in the first period with it. We just wanted to get in there and set up. That was the tough part. Once we did set up, Shayne fed me a good pass and fortunately, it went top-shelf."

Earlier, Schwab kept the game tied with a point-blank stop on Marty Murray.

Tucker started the scoring 9 1/2 into the opening period. After faking a slap shot in the right circle, he moved toward the faceoff dot and slapped the puck under Boucher's left arm.

"I've been in a slump since the Olympic break, but I've tried to work hard without the puck," Tucker said. "It doesn't matter if you're scoring as long as you play well without the puck."

Desjardins tied it just under six minutes later, getting a feed from Justin Williams at the edge of the right circle and ringing in a shot off the goalpost. But Philadelphia was 0-for-3 on the power play and has lost three of four at home.

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