Final

Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Monday, October 9th
Panthers1Final
SO
Maple Leafs2
Game 2: Thursday, November 2nd
Maple Leafs2Final
Panthers4
Game 3: Tuesday, December 19th
Panthers7Final
Maple Leafs3
Game 4: Thursday, January 18th
Maple Leafs3Final
Panthers2

Panthers 7

(12-18-6, 30 pts)

Maple Leafs 3

(16-14-5, 37 pts)

7:30 PM ET, December 19, 2006

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
FLA 3 3 17
TOR 1 0 23

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

E. Belfour (Panthers - G): Saves: 33, Save Pct.: .917

J. Stumpel (Panthers - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 4

Former Maple Leafs Roberts, Belfour carry Panthers

TORONTO (AP) -- A couple of unwanted ex-Maple Leafs stuck it to their former team.

Gary Roberts scored twice and Ed Belfour made 33 saves in his first game in Toronto since he was cut by the Maple Leafs, leading the Florida Panthers to a 7-3 rout Tuesday night.

Ville Peltonen, Rostislav Olesz, Martin Gelinas, Joel Kwiatkowski and Nathan Horton also scored for the Panthers, who won back-to-back road games for the first time this season. They had lost their previous five in Toronto.

The 40-year-old Roberts spent four memorable seasons in Toronto before signing with Florida last season. He wanted to be traded back to Toronto this past summer but Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr. didn't want him.

"It was nice to have a big night in Toronto along with Eddie," said Roberts, a Toronto native who pumped his first after being named first star

Belfour, 41, had two good years with the Maple Leafs before struggling last season. The team bought out his contract after acquiring Andrew Raycroft, who allowed six goals on 26 shots before being replaced to start the third.

Belfour -- speaking to the media for the first time since Nov. 2 -- said he was a little surprised they cut him.

"It's new management and he's got to make his own way. I wasn't part of his plan," Belfour said of Ferguson. "You want do well against your former team."

Raycroft made several impressive saves, but defenseman Hal Gill's two turnovers led to breakaways that deflated his team.

Peltonen stole the puck from Gill, who fell down before Peltonen skated in on a breakaway and gave Florida a 3-1 lead at 19:53 of the first. Roberts then intercepted Gill's pass, skated in and scored on a slap shot just 28 seconds into the second, prompting Toronto fans to boo Gill.

"That was a huge blow to our team. I just can't do that. It's a shame that a couple of mistakes by one guy can throw a game like that," Gill said.

Jeff O'Neill, Tomas Kaberle and Carlo Colaiacovo scored for the Maple Leafs, whose three-game winning streak ended. Toronto beat the New York Rangers 9-2 on Saturday.

O'Neill scored on Toronto's first shot on Belfour. After being left alone at the side of the net, O'Neill put a shot under Belfour's glove.

But the Panthers followed with four straight goals.

After a scramble in front, Olesz put the puck between Raycroft's legs at 16:00 of the first. Roberts tipped Mark Van Ryn's pass past Raycroft at 19:03. Just 50 seconds later, Gill made the first of his costly turnovers.

Gelinas tipped a shot past Raycroft at 6:21 of the second and Kwiatkowski made it 6-1 on the power play at 16:56 of the second.

Florida outshot Toronto 14-4 in the second.

Belfour made a couple of big saves early in the game. He poked checked Toronto's Mats Sundin and turned away Darcy Tucker's one-timer from the side of the goal during a Toronto power play.

"He came up with some big saves that really kept us in the game and then we were able to capitalize with three quick goals at the end of the first period," Florida coach Jacques Martin said.

Game notes


Belfour made 18 saves Saturday to help Florida snap a four-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory over Boston. ... The Maple Leafs scored 18 goals during their three-game winning streak. They lost a season-high seven in a row before the streak.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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