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Leafs blank Flyers again

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Ed Belfour made 21 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and Aki Berg snapped a 95-game goal drought to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Belfour needed to turn aside just four shots in the first period, seven in the second and 10 in the third for move into a tie with Marty Turco for the league lead in shutouts. It was his 62nd career blanking and third in his last five games.

"This feels real good. The main thing is that we play well and hard like we have," Belfour said. "To come in here and get two points is huge. We are playing well as a team defensively. We are not getting caught out of position nearly as often."

Belfour became the leader in shutouts among active NHL goaltenders, passing Colorado's Patrick Roy. He is now tied with Turk Broda for 11th place on the career list.

Aki Berg scored his first goal of the season.
Graig Abel Photography
Berg notched his first goal since October 18, 2001 at Vancouver to open the scoring at 7:35 of the second period. Alexander Mogilny did most of the work. He picked up the puck from the behind Philadelphia's net, coming around the right side, curling around the right faceoff to the high slot.

Mogilny faked out Flyers center Marty Murray with a no-look backhand pass to Berg, who converted on a slap shot from the left faceoff circle.

"I've taken a lot of shots. Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don't," Berg said. "Today, I finally got one to go in and I hope I'll get the second one somewhere in the near future."

Nikolai Antropov added a power-play goal in the period and former Flyer Mikael Renberg tallied his ninth into an empty net in the third as Toronto won for the fourth time in its last five games.

"We kept the shots down very well and defensively we were as good as we have been in a while," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said.

"It was a pretty good night by our hockey club and of course sometimes when you are playing good defense you get those one or two goals you need to win. I thought this game was the best for (our defenseman), maybe the best of the season so far."

The Maple Leafs, who posted a 6-0 triumph over Philadelphia on Saturday, have shut out the Flyers twice in one season for the first time.

"I never really thought about (the shutouts)," said the 37-year-old netminder, who repelled 25 shots against Philadelphia on Sunday. "It has just worked out that we have played very well against (the Flyers). We worked hard as a team and had some luck too. We have a lot of veteran players and a lot of pride. We have to keep this play up so we can get back in there."

Philadelphia played its second game in a row without left wing John LeClair, who leads the team with 11 goals. LeClair is out indefinitely after dislocating his right shoulder late in Wednesday's 7-2 loss at Pittsburgh.

"Johnny is an integral part of our team," Flyers captain Keith Primeau said. "He is a fantastic player and a great guy in the locker room. We have to be ready to play without him."

The Flyers also were missing Simon Gagne. The left wing, who scored a career-high 33 goals last season but has only two in 21 games this campaign, injured his side against Pittsburgh.

"We're just going to have to find some combinations we think work," Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I don't think that you're going to get the offense to work with one person taking that role. It's going to take a lot more that that. We almost have to score by committee.

"None of our key players had scoring opportunities we created.

No space for ourselves to score. We worked, we played physical and we kept the puck in their zone in the third period a lot. We weren't able to push anything through to the net. Anything that got through to the net was blocked."

Esche made 18 saves for Philadelphia, which dropped its third straight and is 1-5-4-0 in its past 10 contests.

The Flyers, who entered the game 27th in the league at home on the power play, went 0-for-3 with the man advantage. They have converted just twice in their last 42 power-play chances.

Antropov doubled the score with 61 seconds left in the period.

From the right side, he passed to Darcy Tucker, who tried to walk in on goal from the right faceoff circle. Tucker's effort was blocked, but Antropov wristed a shot up over Esche for his sixth goal.

Tucker had to be helped off the ice at 11:31 of the period. He laid motionless after getting plowed down by Todd Fedoruk, who received a minor penalty for interference. Tucker was back in less than a minute to take part in the power play.

"I just got my bell rung, and my neck was a little sore," he said. "I didn't see (Fedoruk) coming. Something hit me in the head. I don't know if it was his knee, his hip or something.

It's one of those things that happens."

With 1:36 left in the third and Esche pulled for an extra attacher, Reneberg found the empty net for his 10th point in the last nine games.
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