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Toronto 5, Boston 2
Posted: Tuesday January 07, 2003 11:58 PM
Boston Bruins
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Toronto Maple Leafs
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TORONTO (Ticker) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs can empathize with the Boston Bruins. Now they hope the Ottawa Senators suffer a similar fate.

The Maple Leafs extended their home unbeaten streak to 12 games, scoring three goals in a 2:24 span of the third period en route to a 5-2 victory over the Bruins.

Ed Belfour made 40 saves for Toronto, which improved to 11-0-1 in its last 12 home games, seven off a franchise record last accomplished during the 1953-54 season.

The Leafs also earned their 15th win in 23 games overall (15-5-2-1). They have made up a 14-point deficit in the past month to tie Boston for second place in the Northeast Division.

"It was a big hole early on in the year," said Leafs center Alyn McCauley, who snapped a 27-game goalless drought. "But we said then it was going to be a long season and if we play well enough, we'll get our chance."

Playing without star forwards Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov, the Bruins dropped their fourth straight and 10th in 13 games (2-10-1). They have slipped nine points behind the red-hot Senators, who filed for bankruptcy Tuesday.

"They've cooled off a little bit," McCaulley said of the Bruins. "It would be nice if Ottawa did the same."

Brian Rolston and Glen Murray scored for the Bruins, who have dropped their last three games by a combined score of 17-8. They have been abysmal away from home, losing six of their last seven.

"Our guys play hard every night," coach Robbie Ftorek said. "It's not a question of effort. It's just right now, because we haven't won in a while, there's a little bit of a confidence thing."

"We were getting a lot of bounces the first 30 games or so, and now we've got to work even harder to get those bounces," Murray added. "We'll get out of it. We'll just have to take it game by game."

With goaltender John Grahame playing well early, the Bruins opened the scoring with 7:45 left in the second period when Rolston banged a rebound past Belfour with a backhand.

The Leafs answered with a pair of goals in the final 5:07 of the second. Tie Domi tied it with his career high-tying ninth of the season and McCauley followed with his first since October 28.

Glen Murray drew the Bruins even 3:31 into the third period, putting a wicked snap shot in the upper left corner of the net from the high slot for his team-best 22nd goal. But Boston fell apart in the closing seven minutes.

"Not good," Murray said. "We tied it up, we battled hard, but we're not tightening it up defensively. They got a couple quick ones in the third, which shouldn't happen."

Mogilny scored the decisive goal with 6:06 left, finishing a rush by putting a snap shot through Grahame's pads from just above the left faceoff dot.

Toronto put away the game by scoring twice in a 77-second span. Jonas Hoglund made it 4-2 with 4:53 left by charging to his own rebound in the low slot. Travis Green then beat Grahame short side with a snap shot from the bottom of the left circle.

Green, Mogilny and Domi each added an assist for the Maple Leafs, who scored at least five goals for the third time in seven games after doing it five times in their first 34 contests. But Domi said the team's success begins with Belfour.

"We were saying, 'This guy is standing on his head, we've got to start playing better for him,'" Domi added. "And sure enough, we all are playing better. I think the last 20 games have been up there, if not the best the last couple of years, then right up there."

 


 
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