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
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.
Nik Antropov, Joe Nieuwendyk and Mats Sundin also scored for the Maple
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
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
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.