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Leafs and Habs play to draw

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
MONTREAL (Ticker) -- It was only fitting that Mats Sundin was frustrated on a night when a host of Canadian Olympic medalists were honored at the Molson Centre.

Jose Theodore stopped 23 shots and helped keep Sundin off the scoreboard as the Montreal Canadiens rallied for a 1-1 tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs and a much-needed point.

While the Olympic euphoria continued for Canadian Olympians like speed skater Marc Gagnon, the frustration persisted for Sundin, whose Swedish hockey team was stunned in the quarterfinals at Salt Lake City by lowly Belarus.

The Maple Leafs' captain, Sundin was thwarted several times by Theodore. He thought he scored with just under eight minutes to go in the second period when his flip from low in the left faceoff circle went off the goaltender's left arm and spun toward the net. But defenseman Stephane Quintal backhanded it off the goal line to keep Montreal within 1-0.

Gary Roberts played with Mats Sundin on Saturday.
Graig Abel Photography
"We can't argue the replay, so what difference does it make? Their decision is final," said coach Pat Quinn, who was introduced before the game after guiding Canada to its first men's hockey gold medal in 50 years.

Joe Juneau tied it two minutes later with a power-play deflection as the Canadiens avoided a second straight shutout loss and moved into a tie with New Jersey and the New York Rangers for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

"We were much better tonight than last night," said Habs' coach Michel Therrien, whose team was beaten in Buffalo on Friday, 3-0. "We battled with a real effort. We set the tempo in this game."

Travis Green scored the lone goal for Toronto, which fell three points behind first-place Boston in the Northeast Division. The Maple Leafs have just one win in the last five games (1-3-1) as they continue to play without injured goaltender Curtis Joseph.

"Nice to get out of Montreal with a point," Green said. "Their goalie looked great. Sundin was all over the place."

Toronto had a 1-0 lead, when Sundin was denied from close range off a perfect pass from Gary Roberts with just under 14 minutes to go in the second period. Less than six minutes later, Sundin ripped a blast that hit Theodore's left arm, flipped up and hit the far goalpost.

"For once, the opposition got less shots than they usually do," Theodore said. "If we keep the other team under 30 shots, we have a better chance. It makes my job a lot easier."

Sundin's frustrating night continued in the third period, when he was denied twice in the opening seven minutes.

"The puck didn't go in tonight," Sundin said. "It looked like their goalie was weighted down with lead. I burned a lot of chances. But as a team, we played a pretty good game."

Green opened the scoring with 3:15 to go in the first period, skating out from behind the net, turning in the left faceoff circle and putting a wrist shot over Theodore's right shoulder.

"Usually, when you come in on the short side like I did, you score," said Green, who ended a six-game drought.

Montreal tied it on the power play with 5:56 left in the second period. Defenseman Andrei Markov wristed a shot from above the left circle that Juneau deflected by goalie Corey Schwab's left arm.

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