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Eagle not flying at All-Star Game

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO (AP) -- Maple Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour pulled out of the NHL All-Star game because of a sore back and was replaced by Ottawa Senators goalie Patrick Lalime.

Belfour said after practice Monday he will skip Sunday's game in Sunrise, Fla. The 37-year-old goalie wants to rest his strained back so he'll be in good shape for the last two months of the regular season.

Belfour missed four games in October with back spasms. He was unavailable for three straight games before playing Friday and Saturday.

Lalime has helped the Senators to No. 1 in the overall standings. Going into Monday's game, he had a 2.11 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage and a 23-12-6 record.

This will be Lalime's first All-Star appearance and the third for an Ottawa goaltender. Peter Sidorkiewicz played in the 1993 game and Ron Tugnutt played in 1999.

Lalime will join Senators teammates Marian Hossa and Zdeno Chara on the Eastern team along with Jacques Martin, who will be the coach.

Tampa Bay's Nikolai Khabibulin was the fan-ballot pick as Eastern Conference starting goalie. Belfour and New Jersey's Martin Brodeur were subsequently named to the East roster.

Belfour played in five All-Star games, most recently in 1999. He has appeared in 38 of Toronto's 50 games and has a 2.15 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. He has a record of 21-14-3 and has keyed Toronto's strong play after a slow start.
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