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Leafs get big win in Vancouver

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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VANCOUVER (Ticker) -- It was the kind of win that got the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Eastern Conference finals last season.

Darcy Tucker and defenseman Jyrki Lumme ended 17-game scoring droughts as the undermanned Maple Leafs rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 5-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Already without injured regulars Mats Sundin, Alexander Mogilny and Mikael Renberg, Toronto dressed one player below the maximum when defenseman Karel Pilar was a late scratch due to the flu. During the game, the Maple Leafs lost center Nik Antropov to a left wrist injury and defenseman Ric Jackman to a left leg injury, although Jackman returned in the third period.

But coping with injuries is nothing new for Toronto, which overcame the loss of several key players last spring in getting within two wins of the Stanley Cup Finals.

"You tighten up. You have pride in your profession," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. "Guys who are struggling were heroes for us last year in the playoffs. Maybe this will help them."

Tucker started the Maple Leafs' comeback in this one midway through the second period with a shorthanded goal, his first since November 23.

Paul Healey tied it at 3-3 with 6:11 to go in the period, backhanding a rebound of Tom Fitzgerald's shot under the crossbar for his third goal of the season.

Also goalless since November 23, Lumme gave Toronto its first lead of the night with a power-play goal at 6:29 of the third. Moments after Vancouver's Matt Cooke flubbed a shorthanded breakaway, Lumme charged down the left side from the point, got a cross-ice pass from Robert Reichel and put a wrist shot from low in the faceoff circle past goaltender Dan Cloutier.

"Reichel had the puck, he saw me, he found a hole," said Lumme, who played for the Canucks from 1990-98. "He made a nice pass and I just tried to put it in the net."

"We didn't put them away when we had the opportunity," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said.

Reichel added an empty-net goal with two seconds left and Ed Belfour stopped five breakaways among 22 saves as the Leafs improved to 2-0-0-1 on a four-game road trip.

"In the long run, we're definitely going to need all the guys back. But in the short term, everybody was saying the right things," Lumme said. "We had a good attitude and we just kept going, almost like we had nothing to lose."

Todd Bertuzzi, Markus Naslund and defenseman Brent Sopel scored on the power play for the Canucks, who had a four-game home unbeaten streak stopped.

"It's a downer," Vancouver center Brendan Morrison said. "We got off to a great start and we just let them back in the game."

Bertuzzi and Antropov traded goals in the opening 4 1/2 minutes before Vancouver made it 3-for-3 on the power play.

Fitzgerald took a hooking penalty at 14:20 and defenseman Robert Svehla followed him to the box 63 seconds later for holding. It took the Canucks 15 seconds to score on the two-man advantage as Sopel's shot deflected to Naslund, who tucked the puck inside the right goalpost for his league-leading 25th goal.

Just 24 seconds later, Sopel put a one-timer from the left circle past Belfour's glove and inside the right post.

Earlier, Belfour forced Morrison wide of the net on a shorthanded breakaway. Morrison failed on a partial break early in the second and Cooke was foiled twice in the third.

"He's one of the best at stopping breakaways," Lumme said of his goaltender. "The way he does everything, just the way he is, it gives everybody so much confidence."

"It showed a lot of character, drive and determination," Belfour added. "That means a lot. It was a fun night."
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