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Toronto Maple Leafs 9, Atlanta Thrashers 1 FINAL @NHL

ATLANTA (AP) - Jeff O'Neill scored three of Toronto's nine goals in a fight-filled rout of the Atlanta Thrashers.

Some of the hardest shots were then traded after the game.

O'Neill posted his second hat trick against the Thrashers in two seasons and paced the Maple Leafs to a 9-1 win Friday night. But all of the postgame talk and barbs revolved around two third-period brawls that led to 109 penalty minutes being called.

``They obviously didn't know how to handle it,'' Toronto coach Pat Quinn said of the officials.

Quinn also accused the Thrashers of ``cowardice'' and said Atlanta coach Bob Hartley ``has a reputation of sending his guys out head hunting.''

The first fight broke out after Atlanta's Eric Boulton hit Maple Leafs forward Eric Lindros.

``That one kid Boulton took a run at one of our guys,'' Quinn said. ``That's trying to hurt people and there should be no place in the game for that. This was a disgrace.''

Boulton drew three penalties totaling 17 minutes following the first fight.

``That kind of stuff is garbage,'' O'Neill said.

Hartley said Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi helped turn the fight into a brawl.

``I'm going to say that Pat Quinn can say what he wants,'' Hartley said. ``I don't care.''

Toronto general manager John Ferguson was listening to Hartley's postgame news conference and was annoyed when Hartley said that the Maple Leafs ``are always whining, and this is no different.''

Ferguson then interrupted to say ``That's bull, Bob.''

There were three misconduct penalties and a total of 46 penalty minutes whistled against Toronto.

Atlanta's Andy Sutton was ejected for attempting to cause deliberate injury, and two of his teammates drew misconduct penalties as the Thrashers were given 63 penalty minutes from the fights.

The first fight involved Lindros and Atlanta's Niclas Havelid, among others. When play resumed, another brawl was touched off after Maple Leafs forward Darcy Tucker, who had a goal and three assists, was knocked to the ice behind the Thrashers' net by Sutton.

Tucker needed 20 stitches on his forehead after the game.

``That was bush league,'' said Domi, who drew one of the misconduct penalties.

O'Neill scored his 200th career goal to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead in the first period. His second goal was the first of three for Toronto in the middle period, and he added a third when the Maple Leafs blew the game open with four goals in the final period.

``It was a good game for the team, and for me,'' O'Neill said. ``It was one of those games where we did some good things defensively.''

O'Neill picked up where he left off against the Thrashers before the lockout. He had a hat trick in a 4-3 win over Atlanta on Jan. 16, 2004, while playing with Carolina.

The Maple Leafs scored seven goals in 16 power-play opportunities to take advantage of Thrashers rookie goalie Michael Garnett, who was making his first start.

Tucker and Jason Allison also scored in the second period as Toronto pulled away for its first road win.

The game matched Toronto's 40-year-old goalie Ed Belfour against the 22-year-old Garnett, who made his first appearance Wednesday night in a 2-0 loss to Montreal after Mike Dunham injured his groin.

The Thrashers were also without No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen, who is on the injured list with a more serious groin injury. Lehtonen has missed four games.

Belfour had allowed five goals in each of his previous two games, but he stopped 20 Atlanta shots.

The Thrashers were 0-for-7 on power plays, leaving them 0-for-16 in their last two games.

Down 6-0, the Thrashers finally scored about five minutes into the final period. Marian Hossa passed to Marc Savard, who pushed the puck past Belfour for his third goal of the season.

Notes: Ilya Kovalchuk played in his second game since re-signing with the Thrashers, but is still scoreless on the season. ... Toronto was 3-0-0-1 against Atlanta in the 2003-04 season. ... Toronto D Bryan McCabe had four assists.

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