October 24, 2005
(TORONTO) -- As Bryan McCabe continues to light up the scorer's sheet this NHL season, former blue-line mate, Brian Leetch - now with the Boston Bruins - heaped some pretty lofty praise on the assistant captain Sunday in Toronto.
"I think (McCabe) can win the Norris Trophy and he's the best player I've played with in my career as a partner," Leetch told the Toronto Star. "I was hoping that I would be able to play with him and help him gain that distinction and have a small part in it, but he obviously didn't need me because he's on his way anyway."
|(Graig Abel Photography) |
McCabe scored his third goal of the season Monday in the 5-4 Maple Leafs win in the shootout over the Bruins at Air Canada Centre.
The Leafs defensive anchor added an assist and moved into an improbable tie with Jaromir Jagr for the NHL scoring lead with 15 points (three goals, 12 assists).
Meanwhile behind him, Ed Belfour was a busy man.
The veteran keeper faced 53 shots and kept all but four in front of him, carrying the Leafs to the shootout as they closed out the third on a 5-3 disadvantage and spent most of the extra frame down one man.
Belfour stood on his head through the penalty kills and kept the score even.
"It was crazy. An emotional roller coaster. One minute you're a slug and the next you're a hero, so you don't know what to think," laughed the Eagle.
After some sighs and jeers early on, the Air Canada Centre faithful got on Belfour's side as he closed the door late and the familiar chants of his name were as loud as ever.
By the time the shootout rolled around, no doubt the Eagle's confidence was riding high with 19,383 fans behind him. Belfour turned away all three Boston shooters and Eric Lindros' lone shootout goal was enough to bring home the extra point for the Blue and White.
"There's no question that when Boston was getting ready to shoot (in the shootout), the fans were really fired up and enjoyed Eddie's three saves," said Pat Quinn, still not a fan of the shootout after his team's first "fifth period" win.
The other bright spot for the Leafs was the penalty kill where Matt Stajan, Alex Steen and Clarke Wilm in particular shone and held off the Bruins as they surged with the one and two-man advantage late.
Toronto now takes a practice day off Tuesday before renewing acquaintances with these same Bruins back in Boston Thursday night. The game will be broadcast on Leafs TV.