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McCauley, Schwab seal deal

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
BOSTON (Ticker) -- Curtis Joseph continues to recover from a broken finger and the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to gain ground in the Eastern Conference.

Corey Schwab stopped 19 shots and Alyn McCauley scored the phantom go-ahead goal late in the second period as the Maple Leafs moved into a first-place tie in the Northeast Division with a 2-1 triumph over the Boston Bruins.

Since Joseph went down on February 26, Schwab has gone 3-2-3. He has given up just one goal in each contest during Toronto's four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2), helping the Maple Leafs match the Bruins with 82 points. Philadelphia leads the Eastern Conference with 84 points.

"It's sort of been beyond even our expectations," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said of Schwab's performance. "We know we had a good backup. Curtis likes to play a lot of games, and (Corey) was the perfect guy for us to have when we needed to call on him."

"The first few games, he was a little tentative, but now he feels comfortable and our team is gaining confidence in him. And that's one of the big things goaltenders have to get."

McCauley flicked a short wrist shot past goaltender Byron Dafoe with 5:22 left in the second period and raised his arms. But referee Mick McGeough immediately signaled no goal and play was allowed to continue for 11 seconds before the next stoppage. That's when video replays showed the puck hit the back of the net and bounced out.

McCauley was credited with his sixth goal of the season and first in 48 games since November 15.

"I thought it hit the back bar," he said. "I saw that it came out quite quickly and right behind where the puck had gone. I saw McGeough with his arms going across and I was like, `OK, please tell me it went in.' But it did and I'm happy for that."

Defenseman Bryan McCabe also scored for Toronto, which defeated Boston for the fourth time in as many meetings this season.

"We knew Boston was going to be one of the teams we were going to have to compete with for a playoff position," Quinn said. "We've had good games and the effect on both sides has been outstanding. And it's been good hockey."

Bill Guerin had the lone goal for the Bruins, who have been outscored, 8-2, by the Leafs.

Boston coach Robbie Ftorek was not saying much after the game, but he railed at referees McGeough and Mark Faucette and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the second period.

"Robbie was more trying to get us going," Bruins' winger Brian Rolston said. "He's the one who yells at the refs because we try to stay away from the refs as players."

It did not work as Boston managed just eight shots in the third period.

"I felt confident that I could come in and do the job and I needed a couple of games to get into a groove a little bit," Schwab said. "But it definitely helps when you only let in one goal. Your confidence goes up."

Toronto took the lead on the power play 8:28 into the first period as McCabe ripped a one-timer from the blue line that beat goaltender Byron Dafoe, who was tied up with Maple Leafs sniper Alexander Mogilny at the top of the crease.

"They did a lot of clutching and grabbing and crashing into the net, and some hits were questionable and you can see why Robbie got a little off his rocker," Dafoe said. "But he wasn't the only one."

Guerin tied it 12 minutes into the second period with his 35th goal and ninth on the power play. After knocking the puck off the stick of Toronto defenseman Aki Berg, Guerin motored to the right faceoff dot and beat Schwab with a low wrist shot.

"I had a couple of things going through my mind," Schwab said. "I just misread it and wanted to control the rebound."

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