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Leafs take second straight from Rangers

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO (Ticker) -- If the last two games were a test, the Toronto Maple Leafs passed with flying colors.

Mats Sundin and Alexander Mogilny scored power-play goals as the Maple Leafs completed a home-and-home sweep of the New York Rangers with a 4-3 victory.

Toronto entered Thursday night's meeting at Madison Square Garden a point behind New York for first place in the Eastern Conference but won both games to take over the top spot.

"We played a very good hockey team and we were good in both games," said Leafs coach Pat Quinn, who thought his team played some of its best hockey of the season Saturday night.

"This was a good test for us to measure our progress, and we came out all right," Mogilny added.

The Rangers have lost three straight games for the second time this season, allowing 15 goals during the skid. They gave up the final three in Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Leafs.

"These two games were big games for us and we're disappointed with the result," said Petr Nedved, who scored New York's final goal Saturday night.

Toronto dominated the first two periods and scored four straight goals to grab a 4-1 cushion before holding on for its fourth win in five games.

"The third period got a little out of whack, but the second period might have been as good as we can play," Quinn said. "It was nice to watch."

Just 85 seconds after Eric Lindros opened the scoring for New York, Sundin beat rookie goaltender Dan Blackburn with a slap shot from the right faceoff circle at 5:53 of the first period.

Darcy Tucker put Toronto ahead for good with 1:44 to play in the first and Mogilny made it 3-1 just 2:40 into the second when he whacked a one-timer past Blackburn from the doorstep.

The goal was Mogilny's eighth of the season and third on the power play.

"Alexander Mogilny is one of the best power-play players in the league," Sundin said. "And when he gets a little time like tonight he is dangerous and will score or find someone to score."

The Leafs used the power play to their advantage in the series with the Rangers, going 4-for-9. They were 4-for-28 in the previous 11 games.

"On a lot of nights, power plays will win the game for you," Moginly said. "And tonight, that was the case for us. But everybody contributed."

Travis Green also contributed, scoring the decisive goal 11:26 into the second period.

New York began its comeback 2:29 into the third, when Andreas Johansson scored his ninth goal on the power play. Nedved added his eighth with 4:43 left, but it was too little, too late for the Rangers.

"We didn't start the game the way we wanted to," Nedved said."We created a lot of chances in the third, but when you're down three goals, it's hard to come back."

It's especially hard when you can't kill penalties. New York has allowed at least one power-play goal in nine of the last 11 games and has surrendered more than one in five of its last 10.

"We battled back there at the end, but we took a couple of penalties in the first two periods," said Lindros, whose team began the game 28th in the league in penalty killing. "And they were quick to capitalize."
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