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Joseph, Leafs Block Islanders


It looked like the Toronto Maple Leafs were setting themselves up for a loss. Somehow, they came out winners.

Despite giving up nearly two shots for every one they took, the Maple Leafs managed to beat the New York Islanders 2-1 on Thursday night with the help of a 41-save performance by Curtis Joseph.

"The Islanders were skating and moving the puck well," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "We were a step behind. Without solid goaltending, this might have been a different story."

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Game summary

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  • The Islanders came out and blitzed the Maple Leafs, outshooting them 16-6 and missing at least two other scoring opportunities. But Joseph turned everything aside, including Claude Lapointe's breakaway and a point-blank shot by Trevor Linden.

    "Cujo kept us in there in the first period," Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin said. "After that, we started to pick up our play a bit."

    The Maple Leafs scored the only goal of the second period when Sergei Berezin notched his team-leading 27th at 15:26. Linemate Igor Korolev shot from in close, and Islanders goalie Tommy Salo made a pad save. But Berezin scored on a rebound.

    Meanwhile, Joseph turned aside 14 more shots to hold off the Islanders.

    "It helps when you have Cujo in net," Toronto defenseman Bryn Berard said, "but sometimes, we rely on him too much."

    The Maple Leafs got some breathing room at 2:08 of the third period when Derek King's slap shot from the top of the left circle deflected off Kenny Jonsson's stick and past Salo.

    The two-goal lead lasted only 2:24, as Bryan Smolinski sent a hard shot from the right circle towards the net. The puck hit off Joseph's left arm and trickled in.

    But Joseph made 11 more saves, including four on an Islander power play with 4:35 left. The Maple Leafs got another scare when they took another penalty immediately after that, but caught a break when referee Terry Gregson whistled Jonsson for slashing Sundin. Replays showed that Jonsson was slashed first, and his retaliatory swing hit Sundin's stick.

    "He's a competitor, but he holds my stick all the time," Sundin said of Jonsson. "I guess the referee didn't see my slash and saw his. I think it hit my stick. I was surprised it was called, but he was (ticking) me off the whole game by doing that."

    "He was a little frustrated," Jonsson said of Sundin. "From what I hear, he hasn't been playing well lately. He was trying to get some emotion for his team."

    Islanders coach Bill Stewart was fuming about the penalty call on Jonsson, but said that it was otherwise a well-played game.

    "Cujo was the difference in my mind," Stewart said. "It was a good game."

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