October 19, 2003
MONTREAL (CP) - Their big guns are firing blanks, so the Toronto Maple Leafs used defence and grit to pick up their first win of the NHL season on Saturday night.
Ric Jackman's power-play goal at 14:22 of the first period stood up as the Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0. Jackman's point shot through traffic went in off Jose Theodore's chest.
"The puck just had eyes for me," said Jackman, who scored only the second goal of his NHL career. His other goal was scored against Anaheim on Dec. 31, 1999. "I threw it at the net and it got through. I was pretty excited."
He was also spitting blood into a paper cup after the game, courtesy of a Jason Ward high-stick at 11:57 of the second period that drew a double minor. It cost Jackman one tooth, but he said a goal for a tooth was a fair trade-off.
"From what I remember, he didn't do it intentionally," he said. "It could happen to anybody."
The Leafs, who had wasted a chance for a win in New Jersey on Thursday when they allowed a goal with two seconds to play, are now 1-1-2-0. The Canadiens (3-2-0-0) ended a three-game winning run.
The Leafs outshot Montreal 25-15, holding the Habs to only two third-period shots.
"We shot ourselves in the foot," said Montreal defenceman Sheldon Souray, dismayed that his club handed the Leafs seven power-play opportunities. "It's tough to get any momentum going when you're always killing penalties.
"We're fortunate that Jose kept us in the game."
There wasn't much work for Leafs goalie Ed Belfour, who picked up his 66th career shutout.
"It's nice to get that first win and the guys worked hard for it," said Belfour. "It's a nice place to get it, too."
It was a far more spirited effort for Toronto than a week earlier, when the Canadiens shut out the Leafs 4-0 at the Air Canada Centre.
The game that began with a tribute to former Canadiens great Jean Beliveau for his 50th year with the organization saw strong defensive play from both clubs.
The end-to-end action had competing Habs and Leafs fans in the sell-out crowd of 21,273 on the edge of their seats.
But Toronto's top shooters continued to struggle.
Coach Pat Quinn juggled his lines in a bid for offence, but captain Mats Sundin, wingers Gary Roberts and Owen Nolan and other stars remained without a goal in four games this season.
Mikael Renberg's assist on Jackman's goal was his first point of the season.
"It's somewhat frustrating," said Joe Nieuwendyk, also seeking his first goal. "Tonight, we won the game by losing teeth and breaking noses, but sometimes, that's what you need to do."
The game included a spectacular crash at centre ice between Canadiens teammates Donald Audette and Michael Ryder, which sent Ryder for a quick trip to the trainer's room.
Leafs tough guy Tie Domi had his nose rearranged when he was clipped in the face by Donald Audette's stick in the first period.
Coach Pat Quinn said Domi's nose wasn't broken, but said "his nose is a little closer to his face now."
The Leafs play the third game of a five-game road trip Monday night on Long Island while on the same night the Canadiens play host to Detroit.
Notes - Rookie winger Nathan Perrott saw his first action of the season for Toronto, replacing Wade Belak . . . Defenceman Francis Bouillon played his first game of the campaign for Montreal, replacing rookie Ron Hainsey.