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Sharks-Maple Leafs Preview @NHLdotcom
Sharks-Maple Leafs Preview

GAME: San Jose Sharks (9-12-4) at Toronto Maple Leafs (15-9-3).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

Ed Belfour has a chance to make history at home.

Belfour looks to become the second winningest goaltender in NHL history when the Toronto Maple Leafs host Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks.

Belfour was in net for a 2-1 victory at Florida on Monday, the 447th victory of his career, tying him with Terry Sawchuk for second on the all-time list.

In his first attempt to pass Sawchuk, Belfour allowed Pavel Kubina's power-play goal with 8:38 left in regulation Wednesday in a 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

"It just wasn't meant to be tonight," said Belfour, who will trail only Patrick Roy (551) with his next victory.

Belfour has played very well at home lately, going 6-1 with a 2.56 goals-against average and .921 save percentage since Oct. 31. Belfour, who played briefly for the Sharks in 1996-97, is 6-8-4 with a 2.37 GAA lifetime against San Jose.

With Belfour getting the night off, backup Mikael Tellqvist made 28 saves for his first career shutout Thursday as the Leafs completed a three-game road trip with a 4-0 victory over Atlanta.

"I've been waiting a long time for that," Tellqvist said. "It was huge. All the credit goes to my D-men."

The Leafs have won six of their last seven home games.

Thornton looked very comfortable in his Sharks debut Friday, contributing two assists as San Jose ended a 10-game losing streak with a 5-0 victory at Buffalo.

Thornton, acquired from the Boston Bruins on Wednesday in a four-player deal, played between cousin Scott Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo. He helped the Sharks post their first win since a 1-0 overtime victory against Anaheim on Nov. 4.

"I'm a San Jose Shark," Thornton said. "I felt really comfortable out there, and this feels really good."

Thornton, a native of London, Ontario, had eight goals and 11 assists in 32 career games against Toronto while with the Boston Bruins. The Sharks are 0-3-2 in their last five meetings with the Maple Leafs.

San Jose may be without goaltender Evgeni Nabokov on Saturday after he left Friday's game midway through the third period and went directly to the dressing room with a groin injury.

"It was more of a precautionary thing," said Nabokov. "We'll see how it feels (Saturday)."

Nabokov missed eight games earlier this season with a shoulder injury sustained in a collision with a teammate. He had been 0-6-4 before stopping all 20 shots he faced Friday.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 2): Sharks - 22 points, 5th place, 13 PB, Pacific Division. Maple Leafs - 33 points, 2nd place (tied), 7 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Patrick Marleau, 10 goals; Thornton, 24 assists and 33 points; Mark Smith, 38 PIM. Maple Leafs - Jeff O'Neill and Darcy Tucker, 11 goals; Bryan McCabe, 25 assists and 35 points; Tie Domi, 41 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 2): Sharks - Power play: 14.1 percent (23 for 163), 27th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.9 percent (98 for 121), 22nd. Maple Leafs - Power play: 22.9 percent (40 for 174), 2nd. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (138 for 167), 15th.

GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Nabokov (3-7-4, 0 SO, 3.34 GAA); Nolan Schaefer (5-1-0, 1, 1.94). Maple Leafs - Belfour (12-7-2, 3.18); Tellqvist (3-2-1, 1, 2.41).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: 0-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 15, 2003. Tied, 2-2. At San Jose, Calif., Marleau and Nils Ekman scored early in the third period as San Jose erased a two-goal deficit. Mats Sundin and Alexander Mogilny scored for the Maple Leafs.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 5-9-2 on the road; Maple Leafs - 9-4-1 at home.

Associated Press

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