UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Coach Pat Quinn is confident that the Toronto Maple Leafs will make the playoffs.
Matt Stajan scored his second goal of the game with 1:08 left in overtime to give Toronto an important 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night. Afterwards, Quinn was asked if his team would be the hottest team to miss the playoffs.
"Don't even think about that part," Quinn said. "We're going to make it."
Stajan came around the net, fought off two checks and sent a backhand from the high slot between the pads of a screened Garth Snow to bring the Maple Leafs to within three points of eighth place Tampa Bay. Both teams have three games left.
"Darce (Darcy Tucker) did a good job of cycling down low," Stajan said. "I went around and was able to get in front, and I tried my tricky backhand and it went into the net. Anytime you score an overtime goal in the NHL, it's exciting. It probably was my biggest game in the league."
Tucker and Mats Sundin also scored for Toronto. Jean-Sebastien Aubin stopped 23 shots for the Leafs. Aubin is 7-0-2 this season.
"Even when he bends, he doesn't break," Tucker said of Aubin. "He just gets us two points every time."
Robert Nilsson, Trent Hunter and Shawn Bates scored for the Islanders, while Snow made 27 saves. He is now winless in his last 12 appearances in net, 10 of them starts.
The loss was the first at home for New York against Toronto in the last four meetings.
Aubin made two huge saves in the first minute of the game. He stopped Miroslav Satan with a diving stick save at the left post on a wraparound attempt at 32 seconds, and then 12 seconds later, he raised his left leg at the knee while on his belly to get a pad on Shawn Bates try.
"That was my scorpion save," Aubin said of the save on Bates. "Actually, it was Alex Steen that gave it that name. I did that once in practice, and he came up with that."
Tucker opened the scoring 2:04 into the game. Snow missed the puck as it went behind the net. Steen grabbed it and passed it out front, where Tucker poked it home.
The Islanders tied the game with 21.8 seconds left in the period. Jason Blake's breakaway attempt hit the left post, but slid under Aubin across to Nilsson, who spun around and whipped a wrist shot into the open right side.
Hunter put the Islanders up 2-1 at 12:27 of the second period. On a give-and-go off the left wall, Hunter faked a pass to Bates and wristed a tight shot under the crossbar.
The Maple Leafs thought they tied the game 2:04 later when Stajan buried the puck during a scramble, but the goal was waved off due to a referees whistle.
Sundin tied the game legally with a power-play goal with 2:13 left in the period. He was wide open in the left circle and snapped Nik Antropov's cross-ice pass high to the short side.
Stajan put the Maple Leafs up 3-2 early in the final period. On a rush, Stajan found himself streaking up the middle alone, and he took Jeff ONeill's pass and beat Snow with a snap shot. It was Stajan's 13th goal, and came at 4:35.
Bates tied the game at 10:54 on a back-door tap-in off Miroslav Satan's second assist of the game.
Snow's biggest save came when he got his glove on Chad Kilger's point blank 20-foot slap shot with 3:15 left in regulation.
Snow enjoyed seeing all the kids in the lineup.
"These guys are great," Snow said. "All you can ask any rookie to do is play hard, and these guys are doing so."
Notes: Center Matt Koalska made his NHL debut with the Islanders. He became the ninth Islanders rookie to suit up for Thursday's game. ... With only two home games left, the Islanders have a 19-17-2 record at Nassau Coliseum. However, they've only had winning records at home in October (3-2-0) and March (6-2-0). ... Snows last win came at Philadelphia, a 4-2 triumph on Nov. 26. ... Satan was voted the "Good Guy by the Long Island chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association for cooperation with the media. ...The announced crowd was 10,430.
|Darcy Tucker (27) ASST: Alexander Steen (24), Kyle Wellwood (32)|
1 - 0 TOR
|Robert Nilsson (6) ASST: Jason Blake (29), Wyatt Smith (7)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Trent Hunter (16) ASST: Miroslav Satan (29), Chris Campoli (22)|
2 - 1 NYI
|PPG - Mats Sundin (28) ASST: Nik Antropov (19), Alexei Ponikarovsky (14)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Matt Stajan (13) ASST: Jeff O'Neill (19), Alexander Steen (25)|
3 - 2 TOR
|Shawn Bates (15) ASST: Miroslav Satan (30), Trent Hunter (19)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Matt Stajan (14) ASST: Darcy Tucker (31), Tomas Kaberle (55)|
4 - 3 TOR
|Miroslav Satan Hooking|
|John Erskine Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Nik Antropov Interference on goalkeeper|
|Matt Koalska Hooking|
|Nik Antropov Tripping|
|Alexander Steen Holding the stick|
|Mats Sundin Slashing|
|Bruno Gervais Tripping|
|Robert Nilsson Slashing|
|Chris Campoli Tripping|