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Joseph handles the pressure and the Leafs

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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DETROIT (Ticker) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs' record-tying road winning streak was snapped by an old friend.

Curtis Joseph got the win in his first game against his old team as rookie Henrik Zetterberg and Brett Hull each scored twice to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 7-2 rout of the Maple Leafs.

After four seasons in Toronto, Joseph signed with Detroit in the offseason. He sat out the Red Wings' 2-1 victory at the Air Canada Centre on November 16 but turned aside 27 shots in this one to help the defending Stanley Cup champions improve to 7-0-0-1 in their last eight games.

"Emotionally, you're up, that's obvious," Joseph said. "There's anticipation when you play your former team, some emotion. You just have to keep that in check."

Joseph got lucky early in the second period when Jonas Hoglund had him out of position but put a rebound off the left goalpost during a power play with Detroit nursing a 3-2 lead. During another power play two minutes later, Joseph lunged and stopped Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin from the doorstep.

It was that kind of night for Sundin, who lost three faceoffs that led directly to Red Wings' goals. He and linemates Gary Roberts and Alexander Mogilny combined for a minus-13 rating.

"Our line had a nightmare night," Sundin said. "That happens once in a while, but that was a tough night for us. We certainly made all the mistakes that we possibly could. We didn't have any defensive zone coverage and it seems like they scored every chance they got. Just have to remember what it felt like and move on."

Zetterberg and Hull got their second goals of the night in an 8:22 span of the second to make it 5-2.

Kris Draper and rookie defenseman Dmitri Bykov tallied in the third to complete the scoring for Detroit, which remained two points ahead of second-place St. Louis in the Central Division.

"We had a bit of a buzz in the building, a playoff atmosphere," Red Wings coach Dave Lewis said. "It's a good feeling."

It was the most lopsided loss of the season for Toronto, which also won seven in a row on the road during the 1950-51 and 1960-61 campaigns.

"We flat stunk," Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. "If we thought it was a test, we flunked. We weren't even close. I suppose we were still at dinner at Curtis' house, waiting for dessert."

Zetterberg and Darren McCarty put Detroit in front for good by scoring eight seconds apart late in the first period.

Zetterberg stickhandled in front before flipping the puck over goaltender Ed Belfour and McCarty - back after missing nine games with an infected elbow - fired a slap shot from the right faceoff circle under the crossbar.

Robert Reichel halved Toronto's deficit less than two minutes later, but Pavel Datsyuk won a faceoff back to Hull, who put a wrist shot from high in the left circle off Belfour's glove and into the net with two seconds to go in the period.

During a two-man advantage, Roberts tipped defenseman Robert Svehla's shot under Joseph's right pad at 2:26 of the second.

But Detroit pulled away as Zetterberg finished off a 2-on-1 with 8:39 to go in the period and Hull again scored in the final minute.

"Got some good bounces, got some breaks," Lewis said. "The puck, it took some fluky bounces and went in. Curtis was very good. A couple pucks went off the post for Curtis and a couple went in for us."

Toronto has won 10 in a row against Eastern Conference opponents but has lost four of the last five meetings with the West.

"We were doing pretty well against the Eastern Conference, but tonight showed us a different side, and we didn't show up and meet it," Maple Leafs center Alyn McCauley said. "We're going to be, I'm sure, crucified here in the next little while because of it, but all we can do is move forward and get better and try to be ready next time we have to meet these guys."
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