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Leafs Inch Closer With OT Win

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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April 13, 2006

(UNIONDALE, NY) (CP) -- Coach Pat Quinn is confident that the Toronto Maple Leafs will make the NHL 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.

Mats Sundin scored once again.
(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

"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 backhandedr from the high slot between the pads of a screened Garth Snow to bring the 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 since taking over in the nets.

"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 12 seconds later he raised his left leg at the knee while on his belly to get a pad on a 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 lifted the puck under the crossbar.

The Leafs appeared to have tied it 2:04 later when Stajan buried the puck during a scramble, but the goal was waved off due to a referee's whistle.

Sundin tied it legally with a power-play goal with 2:13 left in the period. He was open in the left circle and snapped Nik Antropov's cross-ice pass high to the short side.

Stajan put the 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 it 3-3 at 10:54 on a back-door tap-in off Miroslav Satan's second assist of the game.

Notes: The Leafs' next game is at home Saturday against Ottawa . . . Centre 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) . . . Snow's last win was 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 co-operation with the media

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