Nashville at Toronto

Belak scores rare goal to contribute to Maple Leafs' win


TORONTO -- Wade Belak doesn't remember when he last scored or which team it was against.

His rare goal was one of three odd scores by Toronto in the Maple Leafs' 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

Goofy goals by Nik Antropov, Matt Stajan and Belak -- it was his first in four years, by the way -- helped the Leafs win their third straight.

"I was under the age of 30 anyways," was the 31-year-old native of Saskatoon's first response when asked if he could recall his previous goal. "God, I don't know when it was."

For the record, it was Dec. 20, 2003, at home against Montreal.

Shea Weber scored for Nashville, and goalie Chris Mason made 12 saves.

Vesa Toskala made 34 saves for Toronto.

"He stole the show," said Nashville captain Jason Arnott, who had 12 shots on Toskala. "We were on the wrong end of the bounces."

Antropov connected on the game's first shot. Mason glided out to the top of his crease when Hal Gill wound up to take a long shot. The puck struck the stick blade of Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis and caromed at nearly a 90-degree angle to Antropov, who fired it into the vacated net 28 seconds in.

With 11 goals, Antropov is well on his way to topping last season's career-best 18 -- if he can avoid injuries. The 6-foot-6 Kazakh missed 28 games last season and 25 the year before.

Stajan made it 2-0 in the second minute of the second period when, with his back to the net, he took a backhand swing at a knee-high puck to put it behind Mason for his sixth of the season.

Belak got his first goal since Dec. 20, 2003, at 2:48 of the third period. Chad Kilger's high, long shot hit Nashville defenseman Greg Zanon and the puck landed on Belak's stick. With Zanon lying on the ice, the 31-year-old forward slid the puck into the open side of the net and raised his arms to celebrate his eighth career goal in his 407th NHL game.

Toskala made his biggest save of the night with 8½ minutes left when he stuck out his left leg to stop a Jason Arnott shot. Arnott shook his head in disbelief and turned to say something to the Finnish netminder. Toskala robbed Arnott again 90 seconds later.

"We played against him in the playoffs when he was in San Jose and he's a good goalie, he's proven that," said Weber.


  • The Leafs hadn't had this few shots since taking 18 during a 3-0 win over Ottawa on Nov. 17.
  • Sundin's assist on Antropov's goal extended his record home-ice points streak from the start of the season to 16.
  • D Pavel Kubina missed his 10th game since hurting a knee Nov. 13 but hopes to be in the lineup against the Rangers in New York on Thursday.
  • C Jiri Tlusty missed a fifth game since bruising a collarbone Nov. 23.
  • Nashville F Scott Nichol sat out to start a five-game league suspension for his cross-check to the face of Montreal's Patrice Brisebois last Saturday.
Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Wade Belak (center) has good reason to be happy after scoring his first goal since December 2003. (AP)
Wade Belak (center) has good reason to be happy after scoring his first goal since December 2003. (AP)
Related Links
Nashville (13-10-2)0011
Toronto  (11-11-6) «1113
Three Stars
V. Toskala

Saves: 34
Save Pct.: .971
M. Sundin

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
W. Belak

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
28.0Nik Antropov (11), Wrist Shot. Assist: Hal Gill, Mats Sundin
01:34Matt Stajan (6), Wrist Shot. Assist: Boyd Devereaux, Tomas Kaberle
02:48Wade Belak (1), Tip-In. Assist: Chad Kilger, Tomas Kaberle
14:05Shea Weber (1), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
Penalty Summary
01:19Arnott, 2 min, Holding
07:41McCabe, 2 min, Holding
13:27Antropov, 2 min, High-Sticking
14:47Radulov, 2 min, Hooking
02:00Gill, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
07:33Belak, 2 min, Holding
12:13Zidlicky, 2 min, Hooking
14:19Bonk, 2 min, Boarding
09:26Sundin, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
Chris Mason58:58123
Vesa Toskala60:00341
Game Information
Attendance - 19400
Referees - Bill McCreary, Mick McGeough
Linesmen - Thor Nelson, Lonnie Cameron
Other Games
Ott 3 Final
TB 4
StL 1 Final
Cal 3
Det 4 Final
Mon 1