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Domi stands up for Belfour

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by John McCauley

TORONTO - Tie Domi has a message for the rowdy bunch at Air Canada Centre who gave Eddie Belfour a hard time during his home debut, beat it.

Belfour, who hasn't yet sparkled in a Leafs uniform, continued his penchant for giving up a goal on the first shot. Even though the veteran had no chance on the Canadiens' tally, just 45 seconds into the game, it didn't deter the fans which is something Domi isn't going to stand for.

"The goals weren't his fault at all," Domi said defending his teammate. "It brings our team down when you hear that %#&. If people want to do that then stay home."

Jonas Hoglund was one of the many Leafs crashing the net.
Graig Abel Photography
Belfour has been beaten on the first shot in all four of his preseason appearance but it didn't stop him from recording a 4-3 victory over the visiting Habs Wednesday night. It will take more than sarcastic cheers to shake this former Vezina trophy winner.

"It must have been some Montreal fans," Belfour said with a laugh. "I don't worry about it. It's going to be like that sometimes. It's a part of the game. You have to work real hard to gain the confidence of everybody and that's what I'm going to do."

Montreal was undefeated heading into the contest but the Leafs soundly beat them in every facet of the game, for the first two periods at least. Every line was forechecking hard and the normally fleet-of-foot Canadiens couldn't handle the pressure.

Standouts included Nik Antropov, who seems to have shaken the confidence problem he had early in camp. He was generating chances and playing with a nasty edge, which hasn't been present since his knee problems began two years ago.

"It's probably his best outing in while. I think he has to make those little baby steps. He's had a couple of very frustrating years for a young fellow and a lot times you see your career getting parked some place," GM/coach Pat Quinn said. "He's got to look for those little victories."

The line of Renberg, McCauley and Corson amassed 14 shots on net with hard work in the corners and intense pressure. Mats Sundin and Alex Mogilny played great together at times and dazzled during a third-period powerplay. The two stars even saw time on the penalty kill, which could mean some shorthanded goals in the future.

Jyrki Lumme, who was left unprotected by the Leafs heading into this Friday's waiver draft, was in the lineup and looked like he was making strides. His exclusion from the protection list is simply a calculated gamble by management. The 36-year-old makes too much money for most teams to take a chance on.

Whereas Rick Jackman, who was protected and makes far less moola, would be a larger risk in the selection process.

The teams go at it again Thursday night in Montreal, live on Leafs TV.

NOTES: Darcy Tucker was hauled down on a breakaway in the first but didn't get the call, strange considering the league's crackdown. ... Domi scored his third goal of the preseason, two of which have been powerplay goals, one was shorthanded. ... Carlo Colaiacovo appears ready for the NHL in the offensive zone not so much in the defensive. ... Former Leaf Yanic Perreault scored twice in the third to tie the game but Tucker's game-winner sealed it in the final minute.
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