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Leafs Get Devil-ish Win

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

December 26, 2005

TORONTO (CP) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs will be minus Jason Allison when they face the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night (CBC, 7 p.m. ET) after the veteran centre sustained a fractured finger tip in Monday's 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

The Leafs can only hope they're also not without forward Darcy Tucker after he ripped the helmet off Cam Janssen during a wild fight and hit the Devils winger on the head with it _ twice. Tucker's match penalty carries an automatic review by NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell.

"It was in the heat of the moment,'' Tucker said after the game. "I didn't really know what the penalty was for until I got to the dressing room.

"It was one of those things that happens in a game. Hopefully they will consider that.''

Campbell will have to review the incident as quickly as he can Tuesday because the Leafs play that night.

Allison, meanwhile, got hurt when he blocked a shot in the third period. He was to have surgery Monday night. The Leafs are already without forwards Eric Lindros (wrist), Nik Antropov (knee) and Alexander Steen (thumb).

After the game, the Leafs announced that forward John Pohl had been recalled from the AHL's Toronto Marlies. In 30 games with the Marlies, Pohl has a team-high 19 goals and 15 assists.

There was good news on this night. Bryan McCabe's 13th goal of the season in the first period stood up as the winner as Ed Belfour closed the fort with 33 saves to lead the Leafs past the struggling Devils.

Captain Mats Sundin also scored for the Leafs (19-14-3), who have won consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 26-28 and evened their December record to 5-5-0. Belfour, the game's first star Monday, has allowed only one goal in each of those two wins.

"He is sharp right now and was certainly the difference in the game tonight,'' said Leafs head coach Pat Quinn.

Belfour preserved the game with a point-blank save on Jay Pandolfo with the Devils pressuring late in the final minute. Chants of "Eddie, Eddie,'' echoed throughout the Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,314 as Belfour stoned former Leaf Alex Mogilny from in close midway through the third period. He also stopped Mogilny on a first-period breakaway.

"That was a great win,'' said Belfour. "I felt good tonight, I saw the puck well.

"It feels like things are getting back on track.''

John Madden had the lone goal for the offensively-starved Devils (15-16-5), who fell to 1-3-0 with GM Lou Lamoriello behind the bench as interim head coach.

The Devils, 3-6-3 in this month, continue to get killed by their woeful power play _ 4 for their last 100 chances after going 0-for-6 on Monday night. That's not going to cut it in a league dominated by special teams in the new NHL.

"We have to find a solution, no question, because (the power play) can't continue the way it is,'' said Lamoriello. "We're playing with the puck too much and we're just not going to the net.

"It's as simple as that.''

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was solid, stopping 25 shots but didn't get any offensive support from his teammates.

It was a wild night for Tucker even before getting kicked out. He was clocked twice by two crunching hits from Colin White and then inadvertently two-handed Brodeur behind the head, sending the Canadian Olympic goalie sprawling to the ice and earning two minutes in the penalty box.

Madden opened the scoring 3:59 into the game, deflecting a point shot from Paul Martin. Sundin tied it 1-1 at 13:35 of the first period, backhanding a nice feed from the side boards from Tie Domi past a helpless Brodeur. The Leafs took their first lead of the night thanks to a 5-on-3 power play, McCabe blasting his trademark shot past Brodeur at 16:20.

The Leafs went 1-for-6 on the power play.

Notes: Forwards Eric Lindros (wrist), Nik Antropov (knee) and Alexander Steen (thumb) were out for the Leafs . . . Out for the Devils were forwards Grant Marshall (groin) and Patrik Elias (hepatitis A) . . . Monday's game was the first of four this season between the Devils and Leafs . . . Veteran defenceman Tommy Albelin played his second game of the season after coming out of retirement to re-join the Devils last week.

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