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Leafs Hold Off Canadiens

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

February 21, 2004

Vs. HABS: Scoring | Stats

Leafs Lines:

Defence Pairings: McCabe-Kaberle, Klee-Berg, Marchment-Pilar

Goalies: Tellqvist (W 60:00, 27 SV, 4 GA), Kidd (0:00)

Injuries: Roberts (pulled leg muscle); Belfour (back); Belak (knee);

Healthy scratches: Johnson, Berehowsky, Nathan Perrott

TORONTO (AP) -- Mikael Tellqvist is doing his best to stick with the Toronto Maple Leafs when injured starter Ed Belfour returns.

Tellqvist remained undefeated, and Matt Stajan and Tom Fitzgerald scored and added assists in Toronto's 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Tellqvist made 27 saves to improve to 5-0-2 this season. The 24-year-old rookie is making a strong case to remain the backup when Belfour returns from the back injury that has forced him to miss eight of the last nine games.

Regular backup Trevor Kidd is 1-3-1 while allowing 22 goals in his last five starts. Tellqvist looked strong in the first two periods, but struggled in the third. Toronto nearly blew a 4-0 second-period lead.

"The other night was probably my best performance," said Tellqvist, who made 34 saves in a victory over Carolina on Thursday night. "It's hard to rate this performance. I felt comfortable the first two periods, then I let a bad goal in and after that they got on a roll."

Tellqvist said it's too early to tell whether he's won the job.

"It's hard to say whether I've earned it or not. Of course, I want to be here. It's everybody's dream to play at this level," he said.

Matt Stajan was the game's first star.
(Graig Abel Photography)
Nik Antropov, Joe Nieuwendyk and Mats Sundin also scored for the Maple Leafs.

Pierre Dagenais, Steve Begin, Francis Bouillon and Michael Ryder scored for the Canadiens, who have lost five of six.

"We just didn't come to play for 20 minutes and we lost the game in that 20 minutes," Montreal's Craig Rivet said.

Bouillon's slap shot from the boards cut Toronto's lead to 4-3 midway through the third, but Sundin scored on a two-on-one with Alexander Mogilny with 2:46 left.

Ryder cut it to 5-4 with 50 seconds remaining, but the Canadiens couldn't score with an extra attacker in the dying seconds.

Jose Theodore replaced Mathieu Garon in net after Garon allowed three goals on 11 shots. Garon had won his previous four starts while Theodore had lost four straight.

Toronto's Alexei Ponikarovsky stole the puck from defenseman Michael Komisarek before passing the puck to Antropov, who put his own rebound past Garon at 5:19 of the first.

Montreal couldn't get the puck out of their zone before Stajan made a behind the net pass to Fitzgerald, whose one-timer gave Toronto a 2-0 at 10:56 of the first.

Theodore replaced Garon after Stajan scored on a breakaway by putting the puck between Garon's pads at 17:37 of the second.

Theodore replaced Garon, but Nieuwendyk scored on a power play to give Toronto a 4-0 lead at 11:40 of the second.

Dagenais scored on a one-timer in the second.

Tellqvist allowed a weak goal in the third when Begin scored on a slap shot from the blue line, cutting the lead to 4-2 at 3:07.

"That was a bad goal. You can call it that," Tellqvist said. "Nine times out of 10 I make the save.

Game Notes: Montreal's Craig Rivet and Toronto's Bryan Marchment bloodied each other in a violent fight in the second. The two went at each other as soon as they left the penalty box. Both served roughing penalties before fighting. ... Tellqvist made 34 saves in Thursday's victory over Carolina. ... Toronto improved to 4-1 this season against their Original Six rival. Attendance was 19,514, the largest regular season crowd in Leafs history.

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