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Leafs down Mighty Ducks

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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TORONTO (Ticker) -- Nik Antropov and Mats Sundin helped the Toronto Maple Leafs turn the boos into cheers at Air Canada Centre.

Antropov scored the go-ahead goal and Sundin had a goal and an assist as the Maple Leafs tallied three times in the second period to secure a 5-2 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Robert Reichel also chipped in a goal and an assist and Jonas Hoglund and defenseman Tomas Kaberle contributed two assists apiece as the Maple Leafs ended a four-game winless streak (0-3-1).

"We keep saying don't turn the puck over, keep it simple. I think tonight we saw less of the sloppy plays that we've seen the last few games," Sundin said.

Nik Antropov continues to make steady improvement.
Graig Abel Photography
Toronto dropped the first three games of its seven-game homestand and was booed in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers.

The cheers returned 6:28 into the second when Antropov broke a 1-1 deadlock with his fourth goal of the season.

"It's definitely positive when you hear everybody supporting you and behind the team. It's all a great feeling for sure," said Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour, who made 21 saves.

Teammate Alexander Mogilny had a more realistic perspective.

"I don't really care what the fans think. It's all about these guys in here, and the bottom line is we have to win the hockey games," he said. "If we win the games, everybody's behind you.

And if you don't, you can understand the fans. They pay the money to come see us win, and if you don't win the games, you're not doing your job."

Sundin set up Mogilny midway through the period, then demoralized Anaheim with a goal just 18 seconds before the second intermission. That gave the Leafs a 4-1 lead and helped them improve to 9-2-4 all-time at home against the Ducks.

Matt Cullen and Steve Rucchin scored for Anaheim, which is 0-2-1 on a five-game road trip.

"We had a pretty good start in Vancouver - we got a point out of it - and a decent start in Edmonton to build a two-goal lead," Ducks left wing Mike Leclerc said. "The third period, it's just unacceptable, and we brought that over to tonight's game."

Anaheim's goalies also struggled. Rookie Martin Gerber allowed four goals on 12 shots and was replaced by Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who gave up Reichel's shorthanded goal with 4:35 left in the contest.

Meanwhile, Belfour registered his first home win since signing as an unrestricted free agent on July 3.

"I think we were hunting down loose pucks with more determination and not giving many second chances," Belfour said.

"I think definitely overall a better defensive game."

The 2002-03 season has seen a dramatic rise in power-play goals.

But Toronto and Anaheim failed to convert nine chances, with the Leafs collecting all three of the second-period goals at even strength.

Antropov's initial effort from slot was stopped by Gerber, but the center managed to reach for his own rebound and jammed it into top left corner of the net.

"They wanted the two points more than we did. We were outworked and we were not prepared to play the game," Ducks captain Paul Kariya said. "This team should have bounced back. We've got a lot better team than we did last year, a lot more talent on this team, and we have to learn how to work."

Sundin had the puck behind the net at 10:06. The Anaheim defense anticipated a wraparound, but Sundin sent a backhanded pass through the crease to an unchecked Mogilny in front of an open net.

"We know what this city's about, the type of pressure," Sundin said. "It's nice to get the win, but we have to play better as a group."

Less than 10 minutes later, Sundin skated down the left side, slipped a pass through two defenders to Renberg and headed for the net. Renberg rewarded his captain's work by feeding him in the slot, where Sundin delivered the finish.
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