Belfour made 28 saves Saturday night in his second straight shutout and the Maple Leafs scored four goals in the second period en route to a 6-0 victory over the Senators.
“It’s a little bit of a statement,” Toronto forward Alexander Mogilny said.
Belfour, who stopped 17 shots in a 2-0 win against Buffalo on Friday, earned his career-best 10th shutout this season and the 75th of his career. Belfour tied Jacques Plante for third of the victory list with 435.
He is also even with New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur for the shutout lead among active goalies and one blanking behind Tony Esposito for seventh on the NHL list.
Joe Nieuwendyk scored twice for the Maple Leafs, who had three goals in less than five minutes of the second period during the last game for both teams before the playoffs.
“I’m sure everyone anticipated a high-intensity game,” Mogilny said. “I think it was a matter of who scored the first goal. Eddie was on top of his game again. We scored first and the game changed from there.”
Francis moved past Michel Goulet into 19th on the career goals list with 549. Nieuwendyk tied Frank Mahovlich for 25th with 533 goals.
Ottawa fell to 17-7-2-1 against Toronto since April 8, 1999, 12-4-1-1 at home. The Maple Leafs won four of the six meetings this season.
“This game meant a lot for us, we wanted home-ice advantage,” Leafs forward Mikael Renberg said.
A motion by Ottawa city council to “fine” Toronto fans who wore Maple Leafs jerseys didn’t deter thousands from being among the sellout crowd. They filled donation bins to the Ottawa Food Bank and drowned out the cheers for the home side.
“I don’t know about (making) a statement,” Sundin said. “We were just trying to finish as high as we can. We’re happy with the two points.”
With 102 points, Ottawa can play Toronto, Boston or Philadelphia in the first round of the postseason. Toronto, which will finish no worse than fourth, could also play Montreal.
The Maple Leafs scored three times on nine shots and chased starting goaltender Martin Prusek from the game. Prusek, who was pulled Wednesday after allowing three goals on 18 shots at Florida, beat Philadelphia on Friday.
“We’ve got to put it behind us,” Senators defenseman Wade Redden said. “We obviously don’t feel good about it, but it’s not like they really dominated us. They got a few bounces and got some goals and it seems like it snowballed from there.”
Senators forward Peter Bondra left the game after taking a hard hit from Domi in the second period and didn’t return from a lower body injury.
Late in the first period, Francis redirected a cross-ice pass from Alexander Mogilny past Prusek for his 13th goal and third since joining the Leafs.
Nieuwendyk scored twice within 2 1/2 minutes to start the second.
Prusek was pulled following Nieuwendyk’s second goal, and Sundin welcomed Ray Emery by firing the first shot through his pads to make it 4-0 at 8:15.
Domi rammed Bondra into the end boards with a clean hit and, while Bryan Smolinski elbowed Domi in the face, Reichel snapped another shot through Emery’s legs on a delayed penalty call for a five-goal lead.
Domi closed out the scoring with a goal in the third.
Emery made five saves the rest of the way.
Senators G Patrick Lalime practiced in equipment Saturday for the first time since spraining his left knee against Toronto last week. … The sellout crowd was Ottawa’s 18th at home, tying a franchise record set in 2000-01. … Domi appeared in his 700th game for Toronto. … The game was the 500th in theNHL for Toronto LW Chad Kilger.