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Seems like old times

Leafs playing spoiler in Central Division again

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Posted: Thursday March 30, 2000 02:30 AM

  Alexander Karpovtsev St Louis' Stephane Richer (left)and Toronto's Alexander Karpovtsev skate for a loose puck. AP

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Curtis Joseph still enjoys making life miserable for his former team.

The Toronto goalie did it again Wednesday night, making 34 saves to help the Maple Leafs defeat the St. Louis Blues 3-2.

"The players are all different, but it's the same feel, the same music, the same atmosphere," Joseph said of coming back to the Kiel Center. "It's obviously a big win for us."

The loss was the first for the Blues this season against a team from Canada (13-1-3). No U.S. based team has gone undefeated in a season against Canadian teams.

Steve Thomas, who along with Jonas Hoglund had a goal and an assist, said the formula for victory was pretty simple.

"Cujo stood on his head and we scored some timely goals," Thomas said.

Presidential Pardon
For most of the season, it looked as if the St. Louis Blues would cruise to the Presidents' Trophy as the team with the most points.

But with a 6-3 victory over Vancouver on Wednesday, the Red Wings cut their deficit to a mere one point.

The teams meet in St. Louis on Saturday, with the winner claiming first place in the West. What's the difference, you ask? A No. 1 or No. 4 seeding in the first-round of the playoffs. 
 
 
Mats Sundin set up all the goals as the Maple Leafs snapped the Blues' six-game unbeaten streak. Toronto scored three times on just 16 shots against Roman Turek.

Craig Conroy and Jochen Hecht scored for the Blues, who lead Detroit by just one point for the NHL's best record. The teams meet Saturday at St. Louis.

Blues defenseman Al MacInnis does not expect his team to panic.

"It's not like we're winning 10 and then losing a bunch," he said. "We've been pretty consistent all year."

The Blues welcomed Pierre Turgeon back to the lineup, but were without All-Star forward Pavol Demitra.

"One guy will not replace Pavol," said MacInnis, who has also missed a significant amount of time with a variety of injuries. "But he (Demitra) has played a lot of hockey so maybe a few days off will do him good."

Cory Cross scored the other goal for the Maple Leafs.

Thomas broke a 2-2 tie with his 22nd goal at 5:57 of the third period. Sundin started the play by stealing the puck from defenseman Chris Pronger at the point. He dumped it into the corner to Hoglund, who centered in front and Thomas tipped it home.

Thomas credited Hoglund for the goal.

"He got a step on the defense and threw it in front," Thomas said. "(I had) a wide open net. It was a pretty easy goal to score."

St. Louis had allowed only four goals in five games.

Cross got Toronto on the board, just 1:25 in, with his fourth goal. Sundin shot the puck into the St. Louis zone then chased down his own rebound along the right boards. When the Blues converged on Sundin, he centered to Cross, who beat Turek for a 1-0 lead.

After Conroy tied it at 5:56 with his 12th goal, Hoglund gave the Maple Leafs the lead again 2:28 into the second with a power-play goal that banked in off Pronger. St. Louis had killed 66 of 68 power plays before Hoglund's 28th goal.

Hecht tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal of his own at 4:58 of the period, lifting his own rebound over Joseph for his 10th goal.

 
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Maple Leafs-Blues Game Summary
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Toronto's Curtis Joseph comes up with big saves against his former team.
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