Eagle eyes payback, as he did in '99

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:50 PM ET


 Ed Belfour is usually showered with praise, not with beer and pop.

 So, the humiliation of being pelted with various liquids by the rowdies at the Wachovia Center on Sunday should only serve to fuel The Eagle's motivation heading into Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Air Canada Centre.

 Coming off a performance in which he was yanked after allowing six goals on 18 shots, Belfour was back on the ice yesterday for the Leafs' up-tempo practice. The veteran goaltender often skips such workouts to rest his fragile back, but the fire in his eyes suggests he has something to prove.

 "I'm very confident in Eddie," said forward Joe Nieuwendyk who, along with Belfour, helped lead the Dallas Stars to a Stanley Cup in 1999.

 "No one takes things harder than Eddie. He'll make it his priority to come back, and so will we."

 While Belfour did not address the media yesterday, he did take time to reminisce with Nieuwendyk about the Stars' march to the championship five years ago.

 'SAME SITUATION'

 "We pointed out to each other that we are in the same situation now as we were that year in our series against Colorado," Nieuwendyk said.

 "The series was tied 2-2 when we got belted 7-5. But Eddie came back and was outstanding in the final two games, which we won by 4-1 scores.

 "I'm very confident we can do that again, but we're not looking past (Game 6).."

 Quinn was asked if pulling Belfour from the Leafs' embarrassing 7-2 loss in Game 5 would be like the baseball manager who was forced to give the hook to Jack Morris, one of the fiercest battlers in major league history.

 "I sure wouldn't want to have to do that," he said, referring to Morris.

 "I didn't talk to (Belfour) at the time, but I'm sure he didn't want to come out," Quinn said. "I mean, we gave up two breakaways right off the bat. If he makes the saves there, he's the hero. But there is no way he should be made out to be the bum because he didn't."


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