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Sullivan helps Predators top Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- Steve Sullivan was excited to end a nearly two-year point drought and help the Nashville Predators to a win.

Playing just his second game of the season after missing the entire 2007-08 season and half of this season with a back injury, Sullivan assisted on the third-period game-winning goal by Radek Bonk, sparking the Predators to a 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

"It was just great to be back and be able to make a contribution offensively for my hockey team and get a big win," Sullivan said.

David Legwand added an insurance goal with just under seven minutes left while Pekka Rinne made 17 stops to record the shutout for Nashville. Toronto dropped its fourth straight, has five losses in six games and eight losses in 10 games.

Bonk's power-play goal was the result of a nice individual play by Sullivan.

After taking the puck at the right point, he moved across the ice, shook off the checking of Matt Stajan and snapped a quick shot that Bonk deflected over the glove of Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala.

Sullivan played just over 12 minutes in Nashville's win over the Blackhawks on Saturday before sitting out the game in Chicago on Sunday night.

Sullivan had a goal and an assist for Nashville in a 6-5 shootout loss to Montreal on Feb. 22, 2007.

"He's just so smart," said Predators coach Barry Trotz, adding he's still very conscious of easing Sullivan back into the flow of games. "Two years of watching, he's even gotten smarter, just seeing the game from up top. He's just one of those remarkable, remarkable players and as we go along here he's getting better and better."

Toskala's best save came early in the game when he stopped J.P. Dumont on a breakaway.

Toronto was trying to snap a three-game losing streak, but Rinne did a good job of limiting second-chance opportunities by controlling his rebounds.

"We were doing a lot of the little things right, but we didn't drive the net like we should and we didn't fire enough shots on net. Under 20 shots is not enough for this team," said Stajan, whose team was blanked for the second time this season.

"It's frustrating, we wasted a solid effort by Vesa. There's not much else to say. We've got to be better," he said.

Rinne, the 26-year-old rookie, has allowed more than two goals just once in his past eight appearances. The game marked his fourth shutout of the season in 15 games.

The Predators won for the first time in eight tries on the road and have victories in three of their past four games.

Game notes
Wade Belak, who played 318 games with the Maple Leafs from 2001-08, played for the first time in Toronto since the Leafs dealt him to the Florida Panthers in February. Florida shipped Belak to Nashville in late November. ... Leafs rookie Mikhail Grabovski served the second game of a three-game suspension he received for shoving a linesman in Montreal last week. ... Nashville captain Jason Arnott missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury.