|TBL||1||1||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|TOR||1||1||1||(0 - 0)||3|
TORONTO (AP) -Mats Sundin moved a little closer to a personal milestone.
He cared more about the Toronto Maple Leafs creeping within a point of a playoff spot.
Sundin scored his 388th goal as a Maple Leaf, leaving him one short of tying Darryl Sittler for the franchise record, and Nik Antropov scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period of a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
"I stopped counting goals a little while ago," Sundin said. "When you're 36, you look at the wins. You want to be one of those top eight teams to get a chance to compete for the championship."
Chad Kilger also scored for the Maple Leafs, who won their third straight at home and moved past the New York Rangers for ninth place in the Eastern Conference. Toronto has 77 points, one behind Carolina and the New York Islanders.
"This is going to be a race for us right down to the last game," Sundin said.
Brad Richards and Dan Boyle scored for Tampa Bay, which lost all four games against Toronto this season.
"They've been frustrated with our play here the same way we have," he said. "It's totally understandable."
The strong play of Lightning goalie Marc Denis was the only reason the score was close. Toronto dominated for most of the game and outshot Tampa 24-8 through two periods.
"Once you win a couple games when you're down one or two goals, you don't really panic," Sundin said. "It felt like we were the better team, even when we were down a goal."
The score was tied at 2 until Antropov gave the Leafs their first lead in the third. He took a pass from Sundin, skated in from the boards and slid the puck underneath Denis at 5:51. It was Antropov's fourth goal in six games.
"It would've been nice to pull out the win for him," Lightning forward Martin St. Louis said.
Some great goaltending in the final frantic minutes by Andrew Raycroft helped secure the win.
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead at 2:24 in the first. Playing the point on the power play, Richards took a low shot that deflected off Leafs defenseman Ian White's stick and bounced by Raycroft at 2:24. It was the sixth time in seven games the Leafs have given up the first goal.
Kilger tied it at 1 at 11:34 after taking a nice pass from Kyle Wellwood. His shot off the rush squeezed past Denis to give Kilger.
The Leafs continued to press the Lightning, but Tampa grabbed the lead again when Boyle raced in on a short-handed rush and beat Raycroft at 4:36 of the second period.
It took Sundin less than 12 minutes to tie it again. The Leafs captain shook off Tampa players Cory Sarich and Vaclav Prospal in the corner before skating out and ripping a shot over Denis' glove to make it 2-2 at 16:06 of the second period.
"They certainly won more battles than we did," Tampa coach John Tortorella said. "Obviously, they spent too much time in our zone and we didn't spend enough in theirs."
Notes: The announced attendance was 19,530. ... Tampa Bay has just two wins in its last 16 visits to Toronto. ... The Lightning lead the league with 45 road points this season.
|PPG - Brad Richards (24) Slapshot - ASST: Vincent Lecavalier (48)|
1 - 0 TBL
|Chad Kilger (11) Snap shot - ASST: Kyle Wellwood (23), Darcy Tucker (13)|
1 - 1 Tie
|SHG - Dan Boyle (16) Wrist shot - ASST: Brad Richards (40)|
2 - 1 TBL
|Mats Sundin (27) Snap shot - ASST: Alexei Ponikarovsky (21), Nik Antropov (12)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Nik Antropov (14) Backhand shot - ASST: Mats Sundin (37), Hal Gill (12)|
3 - 2 TOR
|Carlo Colaiacovo Tripping against Martin St. Louis|
|Andy Wozniewski Cross checking against Martin St. Louis|
|Cory Sarich Interference against Yanic Perreault|
|Jason Ward Tripping against Chad Kilger|
|Ruslan Fedotenko Roughing against Hal Gill|
|Hal Gill Roughing against Ruslan Fedotenko|