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Leafs Take On Thrashers

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

November 27, 2003

GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (9-6-5-2) at Atlanta Thrashers (11-8-3-1).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

The resurgent Toronto Maple Leafs look to extend their winning streak to a season high-tying three games when they visit the Atlanta Thrashers.

Toronto had a season-best, four-game unbeaten streak from Nov. 2-8, but went winless in the first five games of a six-game west coast trip before beating Vancouver 5-3 on Saturday.

The Leafs returned home and beat the Canucks again, coming away with a 2-1 victory Monday to win consecutive games for just the third time this season.

Ed Belfour passed Glenn Hall for fifth place on the career victories list, stopping 24 shots for his 408th win, and Mats Sundin and Gary Roberts scored for the Leafs.

Belfour is 15 wins shy of Tony Esposito for fourth place. Patrick Roy is first with 551.

"He's one of the best goalies in the game," Sundin said. "It's great to have him back there. He certainly made it look easy tonight. That's just the kind of guy he is."

Atlanta had its franchise-record, four-game winning streak snapped Tuesday with a 6-3 home loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Marc Savard got Atlanta on the board first, just 19 seconds in, before power-play goals by Ilya Kovalchuk and Slava Kozlov early in the second period put the Thrashers ahead 3-0.

Ottawa, however, came back to tie the game late in the second period before adding three more goals in third.

"There were more desperate than us. It's as simple as that," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said.

The loss ended Atlanta's three-game home winning streak, but the Thrashers are still one of the top home teams in the league with just three defeats in their first 11 contests at Philips Arena.

STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 25 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Northeast Division. Thrashers - 26 points, 1st place (tied), Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Roberts, 8 goals; Sundin, 13 assists and 20 points; Wade Belak, 55 PIM. Thrashers - Kovalchuk, 16 goals and 27 points; Shawn McEachern, 16 assists; Garnet Exelby, 56 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 25): Maple Leafs - Power play: 16.1 percent (18 for 112), 16th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (96 for 117), 22nd. Thrashers - Power play: 14.6 percent (18 for 123), 21st. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (89 for 105), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Belfour (7-8-3, 1 SO, 2.66 GAA); Mikael Tellqvist (2-0-2, 2.51). Thrashers - Pasi Nurminen (11-6-3, 2, 2.60); Byron Dafoe (0-3-0, 3.37).

SEASON SERIES: Thrashers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 27; Thrashers 3-2, OT. At Toronto, Savard and Jeff Cowan scored 24 seconds apart in the third period, and Savard scored again with 15 seconds left in overtime to lead the Thrashers.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 5-4-4-1 on the road; Thrashers - 6-3-2-0 at home.

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