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Leafs continue Ontario dominance

4/4/2004

OTTAWA (AP) -- Ed Belfour and the Toronto Maple Leafs handed the
Ottawa Senators their worst loss of the season and took them out of the running for the Northeast Division title.

Belfour made 28 saves Saturday night in his second straight
shutout and the Maple Leafs scored four goals in the second period
en route to a 6-0 victory over the Senators.

"It's a little bit of a statement," Toronto forward Alexander
Mogilny said.

Belfour, who stopped 17 shots in a 2-0 win against Buffalo on
Friday, earned his career-best 10th shutout this season and the
75th of his career. Belfour tied Jacques Plante for third of the
victory list with 435.

He is also even with New Jersey's Martin Brodeur for the shutout
lead among active goalies and one blanking behind Tony Esposito for
seventh on the NHL list.

Joe Nieuwendyk scored twice for the Maple Leafs, who had three
goals in less than five minutes of the second period during the
last game for both teams before the playoffs.

"I'm sure everyone anticipated a high-intensity game," Mogilny
said. "I think it was a matter of who scored the first goal. Eddie
was on top of his game again. We scored first and the game changed
from there."

Ron Francis and Tie Domi each added a goal and an assist, and
Mats Sundin and Robert Reichel also scored. Calle Johansson had
three assists.

Francis moved past Michel Goulet into 19th on the career goals
list with 549. Nieuwendyk tied Frank Mahovlich for 25th with 533
goals.

Ottawa fell to 17-7-2-1 against Toronto since April 8, 1999,
12-4-1-1 at home. The Maple Leafs won four of the six meetings this
season.

"This game meant a lot for us, we wanted home-ice advantage,"
Leafs forward Mikael Renberg said.

A motion by Ottawa city council to "fine" Toronto fans who
wore Maple Leafs jerseys didn't deter thousands from being among
the sellout crowd. They filled donation bins to the Ottawa Food
Bank and drowned out the cheers for the home side.

"I don't know about (making) a statement," Sundin said. "We
were just trying to finish as high as we can. We're happy with the
two points."

With 102 points, Ottawa can play Toronto, Boston or Philadelphia
in the first round of the postseason. Toronto, which will finish no
worse than fourth, could also play Montreal.

The Maple Leafs scored three times on nine shots and chased
starting goaltender Martin Prusek from the game. Prusek, who was
pulled Wednesday after allowing three goals on 18 shots at Florida,
beat Philadelphia on Friday.

"We've got to put it behind us," Senators defenseman Wade
Redden said. "We obviously don't feel good about it, but it's not
like they really dominated us. They got a few bounces and got some
goals and it seems like it snowballed from there."

Senators forward Peter Bondra left the game after taking a hard
hit from Domi in the second period and didn't return from a lower
body injury.

Left wing Vaclav Varada returned to Ottawa's lineup after
missing 52 games following knee surgery, and center Todd White also
played after sitting out 22 games because of a broken right foot.

Late in the first period, Francis redirected a cross-ice pass
from Alexander Mogilny past Prusek for his 13th goal and third
since joining the Leafs.

Nieuwendyk scored twice within 2{ minutes to start the second.

Prusek was pulled following Nieuwendyk's second goal, and Sundin
welcomed Ray Emery by firing the first shot through his pads to
make it 4-0 at 8:15.

Domi rammed Bondra into the end boards with a clean hit and,
while Bryan Smolinski elbowed Domi in the face, Reichel snapped
another shot through Emery's legs on a delayed penalty call for a
five-goal lead.

Domi closed out the scoring with a goal in the third.

Emery made five saves the rest of the way.

Game notes
Senators G Patrick Lalime practiced in equipment Saturday
for the first time since spraining his left knee against Toronto
last week. ... The sellout crowd was Ottawa's 18th at home, tying a
franchise record set in 2000-01. ... Domi appeared in his 700th
game for Toronto. ... The game was the 500th in the NHL for Toronto
LW Chad Kilger.