Belak, Newbury won't back down

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

A night earlier, with New Year Eve spirits flowing, you could've understood Wade Belak and Kris Newbury getting carried away with thoughts of scoring big goals and fighting Zdeno Chara.

But the two Maple Leafs' plumbers actually did both last evening, going on pure adrenalin.

Capping off a wild shift with fourth-line pal Ben Ondrus, they hemmed the Boston Bruins in, survived a pitch battle with Chara, produced Newbury's first-period goal and found themselves embroiled with the NHL's biggest player in a scrum.

"My mind went blank," Belak said. "I just remember getting worked over by Chara (losing his helmet in the process), but we did a good job keeping the puck cycled low."

As the Leafs rushed Newbury to celebrate the goal, Boston's Shean Donovan interceded, bringing all players into the conflict. The6-foot-5 Belak expected the worst as he prepared to take on the 6-foot-9, 260-pound Chara, but to his amazement, 5-foot-10 Newbury got there first.

"He's my little protector, a real bulldog out there," Belak said with a laugh. "We both grabbed him at the end, but neither one of us really wanted to fight him, because we were dead tired.

"He's a big, strong man. He was definitely tossing me around out there. I'd better go lift some weights. It was just hold on and go our separate ways."

Newbury doubted his own sanity.

"When I realized who it was, I knew I'd kind of made a mistake," he said. "But I'll go to my teammate's defence anytime."

Chara, who scored Boston's only goal last night, has been at odds with the Leafs since the Battle of Ontario as an Ottawa Senator. It didn't help that last night was the sixth meeting of the Bruins and Leafs in less than two months.

"That could be part of it, but it's obvious that these games are very important now in the standings," Chara said.


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