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Leafs Beat Flyers in Overtime, 3-2

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Toronto, Ontario, April 3) - The Toronto Maple Leafs stayed in control of their playoff chances with a tough win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Bryan McCabe scored a power-play goal 2:18 into overtime to give Toronto a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night, keeping the Leafs a point behind Montreal in the race for the eighth and final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference.

"We still control our own fate," McCabe said. "That's all you want.

"You don't want to be hoping for someone else to help you out. We'll put this one behind us and get ready for Thursday."

The New York Islanders' shootout win over the Rangers kept them in contention three points behind Toronto, with a game in hand. The Leafs go to Long Island, N.Y., on Thursday.

The Leafs will need a win to ensure they go into their last game, at home Saturday against the Canadiens, with a chance to make the playoffs.

"We know we're going to have to play better against the Islanders and Montreal to get a playoff spot," Leafs captain Mats Sundin said.

The Flyers are last in the league and were missing four injured regulars, but the Leafs nearly let the game get away.

"Our season was on the line," Sundin said. "We obviously didn't have our best game. Sometimes there's nerves and guys are putting a little too much pressure on themselves. It's always tough - a lot of pressure for our team, none on their team. They come in with a lot of young guys eager to play.

"But, even though we didn't play a great hockey game, we showed a lot of character and we got the two points. It would have been easy for us to panic but we stuck to our guns and battled it out."

Ian White and Hal Gill also scored for the Leafs, who won their eighth straight home game in front of an Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,547.

Goalie Andrew Raycroft's 37th win tied the franchise record by Ed Belfour in 2002-2003.

Ryan Potulny and Mike York scored for the Flyers, who got standout goaltending from Martin Biron.

When Jeff Carter was assessed a hooking penalty 1:15 into OT, McCabe and Tomas Kaberle took their usual positions at the points. They passed the puck back and forth until McCabe pulled the trigger.

It was McCabe who knocked down a puck with a gloved hand, sending it right to York, for Philadelphia's tying goal at 15:46 of the third period. McCabe was relieved when he scored the winner.

"I felt we played really well defensively," he said. "We didn't give up much.

"They caught a lucky break on that second goal. I tried to bat it out of the air and it kind of landed between the guy's feet and he put it in. Tense times, but we pulled it out."

Toronto had a 33-25 shots advantage.

"Why make it easy on ourselves?" White said with a grin. "We like to do things the hard way, and we're going to get into the playoffs doing it that way."

The Flyers have been a better team since getting Biron near the February trade deadline.

"You don't want to be in a position at the end of the year where you have to play spoiler, but that's our role now," said York. "We weren't very happy between the second and the third and played a little bit better after that, but we couldn't get over the hump at the end."

Notes: Toronto was 1-for-4 and Philadelphia 0-for-4 on power plays. ... F Jeff O'Neill was a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game. ... Sundin hasn't scored in 10 games and remains a goal back of Sittler's club-record 389.
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