Final

Series (Game 1 of 2)

Toronto leads 2-0

Game 1: Saturday, November 22nd
Maple Leafs5Final
Canucks3
Game 2: Monday, November 24th
Canucks1Final
Maple Leafs2

Maple Leafs 5

(8-6-2, 23 pts)

Canucks 3

(12-5-2, 28 pts)

10:00 PM ET, November 22, 2003

Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

1 2 3 T
TOR 2 0 35
VAN 2 0 13

G. Roberts (Maple Leafs - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

E. Belfour (Maple Leafs - G): Saves: 25, Save Pct.: .893

M. Naslund (Canucks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

Canucks finally lose one at home

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs believe they're better than their road trip indicated. Finishing it with a win was the best way to prove it.

Owen Nolan snapped a tie 4:18 into the third period, and Gary Roberts scored his goal of the game five minutes later to help Toronto end a five-game winless slide with a 5-3 victory Saturday night over the Vancouver Canucks.

It was Vancouver's first loss at home (9-1-1) and the Leafs' first win during a six-game western road swing (1-2-2-1) that had some in Toronto calling for coach Pat Quinn's job.

"Everyone seems to be selling us short just because we had one bad road trip," Nolan said. "We're not selling ourselves short here. We feel we've got a good hockey team. It's a gritty team in here and it's a long season. Every team goes through a bit of a slump. Hopefully this will help us swing out of it."

Todd Bertuzzi scored with 1:33 left, after goalie Dan Cloutier was pulled for an extra attacker, but Mats Sundin replied with an empty-netter with 36 seconds left.

Robert Reichel also scored, and Ed Belfour made 25 saves for the Leafs, who return to Toronto for a rematch on Monday.

"It was a big win," said Belfour, who was at his best in the second period -- killing off five of eight power plays, including a lengthy two-man advantage. "We're a veteran team and we have to step up and show leadership and play our best every night."

Markus Naslund and Trevor Linden also scored for the Canucks, who fell behind 2-0 for the third straight game. But after coming back to win the first two in overtime they fell short on Saturday, leaving Philadelphia as the only NHL team without a home loss this season.

"It was a pretty poor performance," Naslund said. "We've gotten away with it a few games where we realized we didn't play well but still won. We need to change that and we need to change it quickly."

Despite missing five regulars to injury, including Alexander Mogilny and Joe Nieuwendyk, the Leafs came out fast and were rewarded early.

Tie Domi's fight with Vancouver's Bryan Allen 23 seconds in set the tone, and Roberts scored 18 seconds later on a redirection of Bryan McCabe's low point shot. Reichel walked out from behind the net untouched and scored through a screen from the high slot at 2:46.

"We let them not only rebound, but stay in front of the net and we didn't get pucks out," Naslund said. "I thought they were more determined than we were."

Naslund ended an eight-game goal drought at 8:34, and Linden tied it on a power play with 13.8 seconds left in the period.

Both goaltenders dominated the second period before Nolan scored after being left alone at the side of the net early in the third. He swiped in a rebound after Cloutier made a couple of saves during a wild scramble in close.

"It's nice to finally get a bounce," said Nolan, who hit a post midway through the first before finally scoring just his second goal in 14 games. "A little bit of relief when the puck went in."

Roberts, robbed twice during a four-minute power play, got through four Canucks and beat Cloutier just after the second penalty expired.

"It's just nice to get things going," Roberts said. "It's been a tough trip for us and we've all been pressing a bit. They made it close but we pulled it out."

Cloutier finished with 24 saves.

Game notes


Toronto RW Nathan Perrott received a major penalty and a game misconduct for checking Canucks C Artem Chubarov headfirst into the boards as the first period expired. Chubarov, who missed Tuesday's game with a shoulder injury, was taken to the hospital for X-rays and didn't return. ... Canucks LW Jarkko Ruutu was penalized twice for unsportsmanlike conduct-diving after being hit by a Leafs player after the whistle. ... Trevor Linden played in his 1,100 regular season game, his 858th with Vancouver. ... Former Canucks draft pick Harold Druken played his first game of the season with Toronto after being recalled from St. John's of the AHL on Friday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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