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Leafs Shutout Blues 4-0

The Toronto Maple Leafs broke a 43-year-old franchise record for futility, yet won in a rout.

The Maple Leafs leaned heavily on goalie Curtis Joseph in a 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues Thursday, getting off only nine shots but scoring on three of their first five.

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  • "I don't think I've ever been involved with less than 10 shots in a game," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said.

    "Unfortunately, a lot of them were real quality shots," Blues winger Scott Young said.

    The Maple Leafs' previous low was 11 shots in 1956. Coach Pat Quinn thought the scorer missed a number of Toronto shots that might have kept that record in the books, but wasn't complaining much under the circumstances.

    "I'm not sure the guy with the button was not as accurate as needs be," Quinn said. "I doubt the count, but it doesn't matter. We got four."

    It also was a record for shots allowed by the Blues, who gave up 10 shots to the New York Rangers on Jan. 2. St. Louis lost that game, too, 1-0. The Blues have been shut out eight times, matching the team record for futility set in 1973-74 and 1977-78.

    The Maple Leafs forced an early debut for new Blues goalie Jim Carey, chasing rookie Brent Johnson from the net with three goals on their first five shots.

    Joseph made 28 saves to beat his old team for the eighth time in 11 meetings, three of them shutouts. Steve Thomas had two assists for the Maple Leafs, who had 26 shots in a 5-2 loss to New Jersey on Wednesday.

    Carey, the 1996 Vezina Trophy winner who signed with the Blues on Monday after he was released by Boston, made his first NHL appearance o the season at 5:58 of the second period. Johnson, 21, won his first three career starts with a 1.20 goals-against average and Quenneville wanted to ride that hot hand, but two of the goals he allowed to Toronto were soft.

    "I couldn't save a beach ball tonight," Johnson said. "I was no good. I feel bad for putting Jimmy in a position like that, letting him walk right into that."

    The Maple Leafs scored on their first shot as Steve Sullivan converted a breakaway for his 13th goal at 11:03 of the first period. Mats Sundin made it two goals in four shots when Johnson played the pass and let a shot get past him at 2:13 of the second. Johnson was done after Lonny Bohonos beat him between the pads on a harmless-looking shot at 5:58 of the second.

    Carey faced only two shots the rest of the period, but overplayed the puck and vacated the net on a 2-on-1 break when Garry Valk slid in a pass from Igor Korolev at 18:29 of the second.

    Carey said it's tough enough coming off the bench, not to mention the extremely low shot volume. He faced only four shots in almost 34 minutes.

    "There would be a 2-on-1, and then you wouldn't see any action for five minutes," Carey said. "When I was in there, most of the play was on their end." >

    Joseph thrives on playing against the Blues, who traded him to Edmonton after the 1995 playoffs. He also played Wednesday night and ideally would have gotten a night off.

    "In hindsight, I'm glad I played tonight," Joseph said. "I don't feel like I'm at another level before the game, but it seems to work out that way."

    The Blues fell to .500 at home at 13-13-4. They've won a team-record six in a row on the road, but were 2-4-1 on a recently completed homestand.

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