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Lemieux scores 51st point in 26th game

12/11/2002

TORONTO (AP) -- Pittsburgh's latest loss was a costly one.

Mats Sundin's second goal of the game broke a third-period tie
as the Toronto Maple Leafs handed the Penguins their season-high
fifth straight loss, 4-2 Tuesday night.

The Penguins lost forward Aleksey Morozov, who broke his right
wrist when he was checked into the boards by Toronto's Ric Jackman
in the first period.

"It's frustrating when you lose five in a row. Now Morozov has
a broken wrist. It seems like all our key guys are getting hurt,''
Mario Lemieux said.

The Penguins are already missing defenseman Dick Tarnstrom
(broken foot) and forward Martin Straka (bruised ankle). Tarnstrom
and Morozov each have 25 points, the third most on the team.

Sundin scored on Toronto's first shot of the game, and later
gave the Maple Leafs the lead for good with his 14th goal with 6:05
left in the third.

Jonas Hoglund and Paul Healey also scored for the resurgent
Maple Leafs, who have won 10 of 13 games to move into seventh place
in the Eastern Conference

"It's a game that puts us in a playoff spot and we knew that
coming it,'' Toronto's Tom Fitzgerald said. "We've crawled out of
the hole. It's a special win.''

Lemieux recorded his league-leading 50th and 51st points in his
26th game this season. It is the fastest an NHL player reached 50
points since 1995-96 when he did it in 18 games and teammate
Jaromir Jagr did it in 24.

Down 2-0 in the second period, Lemieux made a pass up the middle
to a streaking Alexei Kovalev, who beat Toronto goalie Ed Belfour
on a breakaway with a backhanded shot at 17:46 of the second.

Lemieux then tied it on the power play 10:16 into the third when
he scored off his own rebound. Kovalev's shot from the point
rebounded off Belfour's pads to Lemieux, who put in his 14th goal.

"It's not that we weren't playing well. When we got that
power-play goal I thought we were on our way,'' Lemieux said.

A pass by Toronto's Alexander Mogilny deflected off a Pittsburgh
defenseman's stick to a streaking Sundin, who scored with a
backhanded shot.

Healey added an empty-net goal with 35 seconds left.

A Pittsburgh defenseman checked Sundin to the ice -- behind the
net -- just as Sundin shot the puck off Jean-Sebastien Aubin's skate
and in at 9:02 of the first.

After Pittsburgh rookie Ross Lupaschuk, playing his first NHL
game, turned the puck over behind the net, Robert Reichel made a
quick pass to Hoglund, whose one-timer beat Aubin at 12:53 of the
second.

Aubin made 19 saves, including several impressive stops.

Belfour improved to 5-0 in his last five appearances.

Game notes
The Penguins are also missing Dan LaCouture (concussion),
Shean Donovan (broken foot), defensemen Josef Melichar (dislocated
shoulder) and Michal Rozsival (separated shoulder). ... Toronto's
Shayne Corson missed the game after reinjuring his groin on
Saturday. ... Pittsburgh won a season-high four straight from Nov.
22-29 before the losing streak. ... Lupaschuk was acquired from
Washington in the Jagr deal. ... Lemieux extended his point streak
to 10 games. ... The rest of the Penguins' road trip is on the West
Coast, with games at San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Phoenix.
... Toronto has won seven straight at home, while Pittsburgh has
won just two of nine on the road.