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Eagle Shuts Down The Wild

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

Scoring | Stats

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Unfamiliar surroundings and a hostile crowd couldn't slow the surging Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ed Belfour stopped 28 shots for his third shutout of the season, and Tom Fitzgerald scored to lead Toronto to a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.

It was Toronto's first visit to Minnesota's Xcel Energy Center, and Leafs coach Pat Quinn said Belfour bailed out his team during an uneven performance.

"He's an awful good player, and he was on it tonight," Quinn said. "We gave the puck up too easy, so Eddie and our defense were called upon to be pretty good."

It was Toronto's sixth straight road win, and the 10th consecutive game in which the Northeast Division-leading Maple Leafs earned a point. The victory was Toronto's ninth in its last 10 games, with a 3-2 overtime loss to St. Louis on Tuesday the only blemish.

Belfour's 68th career shutout moved him into 11th place on the NHL's all-time list. He's also second among active goaltenders behind New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, who has 70.

Nathan Perrott and Brad Brown decided to dance in this one.
Minnesota outshot Toronto 28-17, but couldn't score in falling to 0-4 all-time against the Maple Leafs. The Wild have just eight goals in their last eight games, but their coach was pleased with Thursday's effort, if not the outcome.

"We played probably our best game tonight," Minnesota's Jacques Lemaire said. "We got a lot of chances, we played solid defensively, and the guys skated well."

While Minnesota dominated in the early stages, it took the Leafs more than seven minutes to get their first shot.

But Toronto withstood the early pressure and scored the game's only goal 11:37 into the opening period.

Defenseman Karel Pilar took a rising shot from the side of the right circle. Wild goaltender Dwayne Roloson blocked the shot, but Fitzgerald poked in the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.

Fitzgerald had an opportunity for his first two-goal game of the season in the third period when he picked up a loose puck and had a breakaway from the red line. Fitzgerald went to his backhand and appeared to have Roloson beaten, but failed to get a shot off.

"The puck never settled down for me," Fitzgerald said. "I pulled it back and moved to the backhand, but I missed it. If it stays on my stick, I've got a goal."

Roloson had 16 saves for Minnesota, 2-6-2-0 in its last 10.

"We're in the doghouse, everybody, in terms of scoring," Minnesota forward Marian Gaborik said.

Notes:Toronto's last game played in Minnesota was a 3-3 tie vs. the North Stars on March 25, 1993. ... After receiving a five-minute major for fighting in the second period, Leafs enforcer Tie Domi has been penalized in games against every NHL team. ... Leafs forward Owen Nolan didn't make the trip to Minnesota after injuring his hip in Toronto's loss to St. Louis. He's expected to resume skating during the weekend. ... It was Lemaire's 750th game as an NHL head coach.
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