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Leafs, Sabres settle nothing

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO (Ticker) -- J.P. Dumont scored a power-play goal with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third period as the Buffalo Sabres rallied for a 3-3 tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs on a tragic night at the Air Canada Centre.

It was supposed to be a festive night as the Maple Leafs marked their 75th anniversary by honoring their all-time team. But Art Jackson, the 75-year-old nephew of honoree Busher Jackson, collapsed as he was being introduced and died later.

While the introductions of Toronto greats like Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald continued, the start of the game was delayed as paramedics treated Jackson.

Mats Sundin scored two goals on the night.
Graig Abel Photography
"It was probably the toughest night of my career," Maple Leafs center Travis Green said. "It was a tough night for everybody, especially the family."

"We are very saddened by the passing of Art Jackson," added Maple Leafs president Ken Dryden. "There has been a long association between the Jackson family and the Maple Leafs. We hope the family finds the peace and strength they will need in the days ahead."

Mats Sundin scored his second goal of the game on the power play just 2:04 into the third period to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 lead.

But Dumont helped Buffalo salvage a point by ending his 13-game goalless drought. With Toronto's Garry Valk in the penalty box, goaltender Corey Schwab stopped defenseman Alexei Zhitnik's blast, but the rebound bounced into the slot. From his knees, Dumont put a backhander off Schwab's left pad and into the net for his 19th goal of the season and first since January 16.

"It was set up because we finlly started shooting pucks from up top," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

Miroslav Satan added a goal and an assist for the Sabres, whose road winless streak reached five games (0-2-3).

The already disjointed game was halted for several minutes in the second period after a shot by Buffalo's Chris Gratton shattered a panel of glass behind the Toronto net.

"Once we did get it going, it was kind of a quiet game for a while," Ruff said. "I think it's to be understood. There was some pretty good hockey and then all of a sudden, the glass breaks. Two big lulls, it was almost like playing three different games tonight."

Toronto had a five-game home winning streak snapped and is 1-1-1 since the Olympic break.

"That was scary with the ceremony and the poor man," Sundin said. "It was tough. It was all quiet in the dressing room.

During the ceremony, we saw them fighting for his life on the bench. It certainly put everything into perspective."

Gratton gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead in the final minute of the first period, converting a nifty feed from Stu Barnes.

Sundin tied it on the power play 26 seconds into the second.

Unchecked in the left faceoff circle, he got a pass from Gary Roberts and whipped the puck into the top right corner of the net for his 32nd goal.

Satan put the Sabres back on top on the power play just over three minutes later. After whiffing on his first shot from the right circle, he beat an off-balance Schwab for his 20th goal.

Toronto tied it again on Roberts' shorthanded goal with 25 seconds to go in the period. Tim Connolly's backhanded clearing pass was tipped to Roberts, who flipped the puck over Martin Biron after the goalie came diving out of the net.

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