Leafs need more finish

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 5:11 PM ET


 One of the best goaltending performances in Maple Leafs history is in danger of going to waste.

 Outshot 201-128 in this series, Toronto has not given Ed Belfour much cushion to support three shutouts and a 2-1 double-overtime loss. To win last night, Belfour would have had to blank the Ottawa Senators a fourth time in one series, something never done by a goalie in National Hockey League history.

 Now they're down to a last chance tomorrow night at the Air Canada Centre.

 "Certainly, he has been rock solid for us back there," Ron Francis said. "We want to have a strong Game 7 and find a way to win for him."

 If the Leafs concede they aren't going to get many scoring chances in the playoffs -- last night marked 10 consecutive games with two goals or less -- they'd better get some finish on those opportunities the Senators do allow.

 A crossbar (Brian Leetch) and a post (Francis) were a good start, but Chad Kilger whiffed on a puck through the crease and Alex Mogilny has been bottled up in the first six games of the Battle of Ontario.

 Belfour insists he is not frustrated by watching the Leafs get choked off around Patrick Lalime, night after night.

 "They're a tough team to play," Belfour said. "We have to step up our game. This is a case where you have to take advantage of home ice."

 LEFT A TINY HOLE

 Belfour left just a tiny hole for Zdeno Chara to score the tying goal, as he had on Daniel Alfredsson's big goal in Game 3. But it was enough. Aki Berg let fourth-liner Antoine Vermette get away behind the net on the overtime winner.

 "I'm not even sure what happened," Belfour said. "It was a bang-bang play and someone (Mike Fisher) was standing there in front."

 Once more, the momentum in this series has shifted. The Sens, written off by a large segment of the Ottawa media, not only won last night, they got the kind of big-game plays that killed them in the first three playoff series against Toronto.

 "No one said this would be easy," Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe said. "We worked hard tonight but came out on the short end."


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