NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Toronto
(Saturday, February 28th)
Final Score: Toronto 3, New Jersey 0
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Ed Belfour returned from injury to make 17 saves and post his sixth shutout of the season, as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the New Jersey Devils, 3-0, at the Air Canada Centre. Karel Pilar had a goal and an assist while Tomas Kaberle added two assists for the Maple Leafs, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Belfour, who had missed 11 of the Leafs' previous 12 games because of a back injury, was activated from injured reserve prior to the contest. He stopped just three shots in the first period, eight in the second and six in the third en route to his 71st career shutout.
"It didn't bother me during the game," said Belfour, referring to his back. "The next day is important. Nobody has a crystal ball to be able tell you what is going to happen the next day. I'm just going to do the best I can."
Martin Brodeur made 24 saves in a losing effort for the Devils, who have dropped two straight.
"He barely saw 10 quality shots," said Brodeur of Belfour's effort."The rest were dump-ins. You're not going to beat a goalie with that lack of quality."
Pilar got the scoring started 9:25 into the first period when he cashed in on the power play with his second goal of the season. Kaberle sent a cross-ice feed to the left point for Pilar, who one-timed a slapshot that went through the five-hole of Brodeur.
Darcy Tucker's power-play goal made it a 2-0 game with 1:25 left in the opening stanza. Kaberle had the puck at the left point and sent a pass to the right corner for Tucker, who beat Brodeur on the short side.
Just 19 seconds later, at 18:54 of the first period, Alexei Ponikarovsky made it a 3-0 contest with his eighth goal of the season. Brodeur was down in the net after making a save on Joe Nieuwendyk, but Ponikarovsky got to the rebound and backhanded a shot just under the crossbar.
Devils defenseman Brian Rafalski left the game in the third period with a leg injury when he went crashing into the net. He is expected to return to New Jersey for further evaluation.
Belfour's 71 career shutouts ties him with Harry Lumley for 10th on the NHL's all-time list. Belfour is three shutouts behind Brodeur for the most by an active goaltender...Belfour shut out New Jersey for just the second time in his career...In the 11 games Belfour missed, the Leafs gave up 3.8 goals per game...Toronto has outscored opponents, 54-48, in the first period and is 17-1-3-1 when leading after 20 minutes...The Leafs were 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Devils went 0-for-4.
02/28 23:01:02 ET