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Sullivan has first point in almost two years as Preds blank Leafs

Steve Sullivan had his first NHL point in almost two years to help the Nashville Predators blank the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 on Tuesday.

Steve Sullivan had his first NHL point in almost two years to help the Nashville Predators blank the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 on Tuesday.

Playing just his second game of the season after missing the entire 2007-08 campaign and half of this one with a back injury, Sullivan assisted on the third-period game-winning goal by Radek Bonk.

David Legwand ripped an insurance goals with just under seven minutes left while Pekka Rinne made 17 stops to record the shutout in the Nashville (20-20-3) goal.

Bonk's power-play goal was the result of a brilliant individual play by Sullivan, a former Leaf. After taking the puck at the right point, the slick winger moved across the ice, shook off the checking of Matt Stajan and snapped a quick shot that Bonk deflected over the glove of Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala.

It should come as no surprise Toronto surrendered the game-winner while short-handed. The Leafs entered the game with the NHL's worst penalty-killing unit.

Sullivan played just over 12 minutes in Nashville's win over Chicago last Saturday before sitting out the return date in Chicago on Sunday night.

Sullivan, a native of Timmins, Ont., had a goal and an assist for Nashville in a 6-5 shootout loss to Montreal on Feb. 22, 2007. It was his last game before his comeback.

Tuesday's game was a scoreless dual between two Finnish goalies through 40 minutes as neither Toskala nor Rinne blinked.

Toskala's best save came early in the game when he stymied J.P. Dumont on a breakaway.

Toronto (16-21-6) was trying to snap a three-game losing streak, but Rinne did a good job of limiting second-chance opportunities by controlling his rebounds.

The 26-year-old rookie is showing signs he could be a classic late-bloomer. Including his win over Toronto, Rinne has allowed more than two goals in just once in his past eight appearances. The game marked his fourth shutout of the season in 15 games.

The Predators, meanwhile, won for the first time in eight tries on the road and now have victories in three of their past four games.

Notes: Tough guy Wade Belak, who played 318 games with the Maple Leafs from 2001-08, played for the first time in Toronto since the Leafs dealt him to the Florida Panthers last February. Florida shipped Belak to Nashville in late NovemberLeafs rookie Mikhail Grabovski served the second game of a three-game suspension he received for shoving a linesman in Montreal last weekNashville captain Jason Arnott missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury.

 
 
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