Final

Toronto won 4-3 (Game 3 of 7)

Toronto won 4-3

Game 1: Thursday, April 8th
Senators4Final
Maple Leafs2
Game 2: Saturday, April 10th
Senators0Final
Maple Leafs2
Game 3: Monday, April 12th
Maple Leafs2Final
Senators0
Game 4: Wednesday, April 14th
Maple Leafs1Final
Senators4
Game 5: Friday, April 16th
Senators0Final
Maple Leafs2
Game 6: Sunday, April 18th
Maple Leafs1Final
2OT
Senators2
Game 7: Tuesday, April 20th
Senators1Final
Maple Leafs4

7:00 PM ET, April 12, 2004

Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
TOR 0 1 12
OTT 0 0 00

E. Belfour (Maple Leafs - G): Saves: 37, Save Pct.: 1.000

M. Sundin (Maple Leafs - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

M. Fisher (Senators - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Belfour has shut out Ottawa for 138:21

OTTAWA (AP) -- Ed Belfour has backstopped the Toronto Maple Leafs back to home-ice advantage.

Belfour made 37 saves for his second straight shutout, leading the Leafs to a 2-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.

The Maple Leafs hold a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Ottawa.

Belfour kept Toronto in the game in the first when Ottawa held a 13-4 advantage in shots, and shut the door on the Senators with 17 saves in the third as Ottawa outshot Toronto 37-17 overall.

"Fortunately, I had a good view of most of the shots in the first and I just kept working hard, and it worked out," Belfour said.

Joe Nieuwendyk scored his second goal of the playoffs early in the second period. Mats Sundin added a goal on a two-on-one rush in the third, scoring on one of only two shots by Toronto in the period.

"We kind of weathered the storm early on, in big part thanks to Eddie," Nieuwendyk said. "He made some incredible saves for us, but that's sometimes what you get in playoff hockey, where one team throws everything at you and gets nothing for it, and you find a way to hang in there and chip away, and eventually we got the goals we needed."

Belfour has held Ottawa scoreless for 138:21. He made 31 saves for his first Toronto playoff shutout Saturday in a 2-0 win that gave the Maple Leafs a split of their first two home games of the series.

"I've seen it before with him," said Nieuwendyk, who won a Stanley Cup with Belfour when they were with Dallas in 1999. "He really enjoys this time of year, and he's playing with a lot of focus. He prepares himself better than any goalie I've ever played with, so it's a very positive thing for our squad."

Belfour, who will be 39 on April 21, got his 84th career playoff win to keep pace with New Jersey's Martin Brodeur for the lead among active goalies.

It was his 13th career playoff shutout, moving him past Dominik Hasek into second place among active goalies behind Brodeur.

"With experience, you're bound to get better somehow, as long you work hard at it, stay healthy and keep your focus," Belfour said.

The Senators haven't scored since Marian Hossa got his second goal of the game 1:39 into the third period of a 4-2 win in Thursday's series opener in Toronto.

"He's a very good goalie, let's not kid ourselves, but we're a very good team," Senators forward Bryan Smolinski said. "We've got some scorers, and we're going to look at it and see where we can make some adjustments. We're screening him, and he's [still] making some great saves.

"We've just got to keep pounding the puck to the net, I mean one of them is going to go in, and once we get one, we're going to get a bunch."

The laconic Belfour displayed rare wit when he was asked whether he thought he was getting inside the Senators' heads.

"I don't worry about things like that, I focus on my own game," Belfour said. "That's psychology."

Nieuwendyk, who scored the first goal of the series 3:15 into Game 1, beat Ottawa goalie Patrick Lalime with a one-timer 1:30 into the second.

"It was a great shot -- what are you going to say?" Lalime said.

Sundin missed a chance to put Toronto up by two goals 12:12 into the second period when his shot off a scramble struck Senators defenseman Zdeno Chara -- who was penalized for interference on the play -- squarely in the backside of his pants.

The sellout Corel Centre crowd of 18,500 waved white towels to encourage the Senators. But it was the Maple Leafs who came alive, and this time Sundin didn't squander his opportunity.

Breaking down the right side off the ensuing faceoff in the Toronto zone, Sundin elected to shoot on a two-on-one and beat Lalime with 5:44 left to silence the crowd.

"Mats always seems to come up with those big goals, and it was sure appreciated," Belfour said.

Game notes


Actor Matthew Perry, an Ottawa native, attended the game and was given a loud ovation when he was shown on the video scoreboard. ... Senators C Jason Spezza returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the first two games in Toronto. C Antoine Vermette sat out.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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