Expect Eagle to soar

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:13 PM ET


 A harried Ed Belfour couldn't even watch the end of the game in peace.

 With a shower of beer and soda coming too close to him on the end of the Maple Leafs bench during the Keith Primeau hat-trick celebration yesterday, Belfour decided it was safer in the dressing room.

 But Trevor Kidd, a rare mid-game substitute for Belfour, said the mental makeup of the Leafs' No. 1 goaltender is the least of the club's worries facing elimination tomorrow in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-final after a 7-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

 "I've played with him two years and he's probably the most mentally sound guy I've ever seen," Kidd said. "There's not a better guy who can regroup from that kind of a game.

 RIGHT THING TO DO

 "Changing (goalies, after Belfour gave up six goals on 18 shots) was probably the right thing. He's healthy for the next game and he doesn't need that stuff going on out there."

 Belfour was indeed frustrated as the score mounted, the crowd chanted his name while Flyers such as Donald Brashear tried to push his ballistic buttons.

 "It's over now, you can't do anything about it," a composed but typically terse Belfour said later. "We are going home where we have been successful with the fans behind us."

 The Leafs are 5-5 facing elimination under coach Pat Quinn.

 "We'll go home and mope about this for a while and discuss it ad nauseum, but these guys will rally," Quinn said.

 Kidd, who made his first NHL playoff appearance since his days with the Calgary Flames in 1996, was unable to explain the Wachovia Center curse any differently than his teammates.

 "Let's get it back for a Game 7 and see what happens," he said of the team's 0-6 slump in Philly. "Look at the Ottawa series. Home ice was a big advantage for us. The problem is, we have to win one here and it will probably have to be Game 7."

 Despite on-ice unpleasantries during Game 5, Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock predicted "zero carryover" to Game 6 tomorrow at the Air Canada Centre.

 "We came back with our best effort and they are going to do the same," Hitchcock said.


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