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Leafs make their point late

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO (Ticker) -- In a game of missed opportunities, the Philadelphia Flyers squandered a few more than the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gary Roberts scored with 2:05 left in the third period as the Maple Leafs took three of a possible four points in a home-and-home series against the top team in the Eastern Conference, rallying for a 1-1 tie with the Flyers.

Philadelphia was closing in on a team record-tying 22nd road win, but goaltender Brian Boucher was caught out of position on the equalizer. Mats Sundin threw a backhanded pass off the left boards and Boucher prepared for a shot from Jonas Hoglund.

Corey Schwab dives to stop a breakaway by Mark Recchi.
But the puck carried all the way across the slot to Roberts, who charged off the right wing and shoveled a shot into a half-empty net for his 17th goal of the season and second in as many games.

"I never saw Roberts coming down that back door," Boucher said. "Hoglund was the guy in the middle. That was exactly who I thought his only option was, and I was shocked."

John LeClair scored the lone goal for Philadelphia, which has just one win in the last four games.

"I'm disgusted," Boucher said. "We played great all game, coverage-wise, and Roberts somehow eluded us and they got the tie. So to me, this feels like a loss because I felt the game was a lock for us. But obviously, it wasn't."

Corey Schwab stopped 22 shots and has allowed just three goals during Toronto's three-game unbeaten streak (1-0-2).

"We obviously have one of the best goalies in the world when Curtis Joseph is healthy. If Corey Schwab can continue to play like that for us down the stretch, it's going to make us feel pretty good for the playoffs," Roberts said.

Sundin had a chance to break a scoreless tie 8 1/2 minutes into the game, but Boucher managed to get the back of his left leg on his backhander while sprawled on his back.

"He came in, he's got a long reach," Boucher said. "He was coming from my left to right. I kind of went paddle down to take the five-hole away. Fortunately, he didn't get it up and I was able to get something on it."

LeClair gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead moments at 3:48 of the second. After shrugging off a check behind the net, LeClair skated out from the right side and banked a shot off the skate of Maple Leafs defenseman Karel Pilar for his 22nd goal and first sine the Olympic break.

But LeClair was stopped on a breakaway six minutes into the third period and put the rebound off the side of the net. Schwab also got lucky with two minutes to go in regulation when Mark Recchi lost control of the puck on a breakaway.

"The pucks didn't want to go in for both clubs," Flyers center Jeremy Roenick said. "Both clubs had some great chances. Simon missed an open net, Reck missing a breakaway, Sundin missing a breakaway, (Bryan) McCabe missing an open net. It was one of those strange bounce games tonight."

Philadelphia squandered a power play late in regulation and the Maple Leafs failed to convert one in overtime after Flyers captain Keith Primeau was penalized for cross-checking.

"They were three big points for our team and a big test for us," Sundin said. "It was an important game for both teams. Philly wants to stay where they are and we're trying to make sure we stay in the race. It's a great test for our team."

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