Maple Leafs 4, Devils 2

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TORONTO (AP)—Ed Belfour showed he can still play despite his age and recent struggles.

Belfour made 36 saves, Alex Ponikarovsky scored twice and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 Saturday night for just their second victory in 12 games.

Belfour looked shaky early in the third, allowing John Madden to score on weak wrist shot. But the 40-year-old goalie hung on to win for only the second time in his last 11 starts.

Fans chanted “Eddie! Eddie!” when Belfour made a couple of impressive stops in the second period, including a penalty-shot save on Viktor Kozlov.

“Eddie certainly gave us a chance to win. In the second period he was awesome,” Toronto captain Mats Sundin said.

Belfour said he isn’t concerned about his heavy workload or his age.

“I’m not worried about that. My whole career I’m used to playing a lot of games,” said Belfour, who is 20-18-3.

Tomas Kaberle and Chad Kilger also scored for the Maple Leafs, who were mired in their worst stretch of hockey since winning three times in a 24-game span from Jan. 11 to March 8, 1996.

Toronto jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 12 minutes as Ponikarovsky scored his 13th and 14th and Kaberle tallied on a two-man advantage.

Brian Gionta and John Madden scored within 35 seconds of each other in the third period, but the Devils couldn’t tie it.

“Eddie played extremely well. He was the biggest difference in the game,” Madden said.

Martin Brodeur had 15 saves for New Jersey.

Ponikarovsky scored 33 seconds into the game by backhanding a rebound past Brodeur.

Kaberle’s one-timer on a two-man advantage made it 2-0 at 9:49. Less than 2 minutes later, Ponikarovsky passed the puck from the boards toward the net. It deflected off a New Jersey player and past Brodeur.

Gionta tipped a slap shot on a power play just 33 seconds into the third. Madden quickly followed with his wrist shot, cutting the lead to 3-2.

Kilger added an empty-netter with 44 seconds left.

Notes

The Devils had a scary takeoff from New Jersey when their plane had to employ the emergency brakes after it couldn’t completely get off the ground. “It was a scary 5 or 6 seconds,” Brodeur said. … Toronto defenseman Ken Klee missed the game with an ankle sprain. … Toronto forward Eric Lindros (torn wrist ligament) isn’t expected back before the Olympic break as originally hoped. Lindros declined surgery, and his wrist hasn’t healed as well as he had hoped. … New Jersey’s Jamie Langenbrunner had two assists.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
A. Ponikarovsky A. Ponikarovsky
Toronto Maple Leafs
Scored at 11:12 of 1st

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Martin Brodeur StL 18 15