Belak Scores 1st Goal In Nearly 4 Years

Wednesday, December 5th 2007, 6:50 am
By: News On 6

TORONTO (AP) _ The last time Wade Belak scored an NHL goal, Jean Chretien had just finished his final term as prime minister, a Canadian dollar was worth less than an American one and, well, it was a very long time ago.

Nearly four years _ and one lockout _ later, Wade Belak found the back of the net again, helping the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 Tuesday night.

His last goal is far enough in the past _ 143 games ago, not counting the three he scored in England during the lockout _ that even Belak would have had to look it up.

``God, I don't know when it was,'' Belak said after his 407th NHL game _ and career goal No. 8.

For the record, his seventh came on Dec. 20, 2003.

Belak stole the show from the 34-save performance of Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala as well as goofy goals by Nik Antropov and Matt Stajan.

In Tuesday's three other NHL games, it was: Calgary 3, St. Louis 1; Detroit 4, Montreal 1 and Tampa Bay 4, Ottawa 3 in a shootout.

Shea Weber scored for the Predators, who got 12 saves from Chris Mason.

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.

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 scored 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 on the ice, the 31-year-old forward slid the puck into the open side of the net and raised his arms to celebrate.

``It was kind of surreal. It hit the guy and I put it in the back door,'' Belak said. ``I just kind of tapped it in. It happened so quick. I'm glad it's over.''

On his next shift, he came out and drilled Marty Gelinas, to the delight of the Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,400.

Afterward, he was chosen as the game's third star _ meaning a brewery will make a donation in his name. Not that Belak was 100 percent familiar with the drill.

``I really enjoyed that. What do we get for it? It's Molson, right? Case of beer maybe.''

Flames 3, Blues 1

In Calgary, Alberta, Dustin Boyd's first goal of the season broke a tie in the second period.

He banked the puck off the backside of Blues goaltender Hannu Toivonen. It was a bad break for the Finnish goaltender, who was otherwise spectacular in the middle period as Calgary outshot St. Louis 20-2.

Marcus Nilson and Kristian Huselius also scored for the Flames, who took 37 shots on Toivonen.

Lightning 4, Senators 3, SO

In Tampa, Fla., Vinny Prospal scored in the fourth round of a shootout and Tampa Bay extended Ottawa's losing streak to seven.

The Lightning, who blew a 3-1 lead in the final 2 minutes, won the shootout 2-1.

Daniel Alfredsson scored twice during a three-goal third, helping the Senators tie it at 3. Alfredsson (1:57 left) and Wade Redden (1:21 remaining) completed the comeback scoring 36 seconds apart late in the period.

The Senators have lost seven games in a row for the first time since Feb. 22-March 9, 1996.

Mathieu Darche, Chris Gratton and Filip Kuba scored for the Lightning.

Red Wings 4, Canadiens 1

In Montreal, Pavel Datsyuk scored two unassisted goals off turnovers and Dominik Hasek stopped 15 shots to lead Detroit.

Datsyuk's second goal of the game and 11th of the season came midway through the second to restore Detroit's one-goal lead at 2-1. He also scored 16:40 in.

Niklas Kronvall and Henrik Zetterberg also scored for the Red Wings, who extended their winning streak to four.