Eric, Eagle exit

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

First his No. 2 centre was hurt, his No. 3 centre had a root canal and then his No. 1 goaltender came up lame.

Not exactly the recipe for success for coach Pat Quinn's team as it tried to avoid a four-game home losing streak. But by the end of last night, the Maple Leafs had beaten the Mighty Ducks 3-2, there was hope that both Eric Lindros and Ed Belfour could be back on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators and Jason Allison mumbled loud enough to get in on two assists.

The Leafs will spend their four days off this week trying to find a brace for Lindros' right wrist after an MRI test detected a minor ligament tear. Last night was the first game he had missed as a Leaf. In his first 30 games for Toronto, Lindros had 22 points.

"We didn't know the severity of it until today," Quinn said, after initially saying Lindros would play last night.

Nothing seemed amiss when Belfour worked out in the morning and preceded Mikael Tellqvist off the ice as the designated starter. But Belfour's sore groin acted up when he took off his equipment and Tellqvist was summoned. Jean-Sebastien Aubin was called up from the Marlies to back up Tellqvist.

"With the number of days off, we thought it was best (to use Tellqvist)," said Quinn, who will have provided Belfour a full week off by Saturday.

Lindros was hurt at some point on Saturday against the Dallas Stars. Sportsnet, which broke the Lindros injury story, showed a Steve Ott hack on Lindros' hand, but Quinn said the injury likely occurred when he jammed the wrist trying to brake near the boards.

Allison was in the dentist's chair in the morning undergoing what Quinn called "emergency surgery."

"I wasn't there long, but it was long enough," Allison said.

Left winger Nik Antropov missed the final two shifts because of an undetermined injury. Unable to win with a near-healthy lineup the past three games, the Leafs overcame the ailments for the victory.

Tellqvist, who has won his past two starts, was facing a possible three-week hiatus if Belfour hadn't been sat out last night.

Quinn insisted in the morning that any rotation of a healthy Belfour would not be based on the latter's chase of his elusive 448th NHL win to break a tie for second overall with Terry Sawchuk.

"That's probably part of the motivation, but you know that he's a competitive guy without any kind of targets like that," Quinn said. Belfour's four most recent defeats had been one-goal decisions.

"These losses might chomp him a little bit, but they've mostly been tight 2-1 games where he's done his job," Quinn said.

Meanwhile, the Lindros injury pool is finished, but only the boldest of fans, media and National Hockey League rivals would have put money on him playing 30 games in a row back when he signed in the summer. Concussion, shoulder and knee woes had curtailed No. 88's career. Thus far, it's been a good gamble for general manager John Ferguson.


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