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Lalime stymies Leafs in Ottawa

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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OTTAWA (Ticker) -- Patrick Lalime made 22 saves to pick up his 21st career shutout as the Ottawa Senators extended their season-high unbeaten streak to seven games with a 2-0 triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Lalime turned away seven shots in both the first and second periods and eight over the final 20 minutes for his first shutout of the season.

The 28-year-old netminder's best save came midway through the third period when he stopped Mats Sundin on a partial breakaway, leaving the rebound just inside the right faceoff circle.

Lalime, who sprawled on his stomach to deny Sundin, extended his left pad to deny Mikael Renberg's backhander.

Mats Sundin had a team high six shots on net.
Graig Abel Photography
"Everyone played well in front of me," Lalime said. "My teammates didn't give up a lot of shots, which is something we've been trying to focus on."

"We didn't get as good of shots on Lalime as we wanted," Sundin said.

Mike Fisher broke a scoreless tie at 8:01 of the first period with his third goal of the season. Defenseman Chris Phillips threw the puck at the net from the point. Ed Belfour got his blocker on it, but Fisher wristed the rebound between the goalie's pads.

The goal ended Belfour's shutout streak at 140 minutes, 21 seconds.

"It was good to get one by him early," Fisher said. "We knew Belfour's been playing well of late."

Phillips, who went without a point in his first 14 contests, has a goal and three assists in his last five games.

Marian Hossa extended his points streak to 10 games when he set up Peter Schaefer for his second goal of the season 7:11 into the second period.

Hossa, who was positioned just above the right circle, got a pass from Radek Bonk along the boards. He connected with Schaefer heading toward the left side of the net and Schaefer tipped the pass just over the right pad of a sprawling Belfour for his first goal in six games.

Hossa has nine goals and seven assists since November 6 for the Senators, who have outscored opponents, 26-14, during their 6-0-1 stretch.

"We want to get enough points before the playoff stretch," Hossa said. "We don't want to be fighting for a spot in the last month."

Belfour registered 29 saves for Toronto, which fell to 1-4-1 in its last six road games. The Leafs have been outshot in each of the last seven contests.

"It was good while it lasted," said Belfour of his shutout streak. "I guess I'll just have to start over again."

"Belfour had a great game again tonight," Sundin added. "I'm sorry we didn't give him the support we usually give him."

Toronto has eliminated Ottawa from the playoffs each of the last three years. But the Senators have dominated the regular-season series, going 14-3-1 in the last 18 meetings and 11-2-1 in the last 14 at the Corel Centre.

"It's definitely the most intense game I've ever been a part of," said Ottawa rookie Jason Spezza, a native of the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke. "Both sets of fans are into it. It's good to experience the rivalry, especially because they're my hometown team.
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