December 2, 2003
TORONTO (AP) -- Bobby Holik didn't appreciate the way the New York Rangers played defense in consecutive losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"There are players that let the team down in front of our own net," Holik said.
Owen Nolan scored the go-ahead goal and Joe Nieuwendyk had a goal and two assists to lead the Maple Leafs to their sixth straight victory, 5-4 over the Rangers on Tuesday night.
"We just let them skate right in and do what they needed to do. You're not going to win games like that," Holik said.
Mats Sundin, Matt Stajan and Mikael Renberg also scored for the Maple Leafs, who beat the Rangers 4-2 in New York on Sunday.
Nolan scored for the fourth time in six games by skating from behind the net and putting a wraparound shot past goalie Mike Dunham. That gave Toronto a 4-3 lead with 10 seconds left in the second period.
Sundin made it 5-3 with 6:56 left in the third by putting a backhander past Dunham.
"Nine goals we've allowed to Toronto, half a dozen have been within five feet of the crease," said Holik, who refused to blame officiating.
"That's a great excuse for some people, but you don't allow nine goals in two games and blame it on the referees. You want to win games, you have to play better in your own end. That's just the truth, sometimes it hurts, but that's the way I look at it."
| Tie Domi got all tangled up with Bryan Marchment and Chris Simon, who were fighting in the second period. (Graig Abel Photography) |
New York's Anson Carter scored 32 seconds after Sundin's goal, but he missed an open net with less than a minute left.
Both teams were agitated in the second game of the back-to-back set.
Toronto enforcer Tie Domi rocked Matthew Barnaby in a fight in the first, and Rangers captain Mark Messier received a misconduct for trying to intercede. Domi also sent Barnaby to the ice in the second.
"I didn't like how the first one went, so I wanted redemption, but that one didn't go the way I wanted either," Barnaby said.
Two other fights broke out just after Domi and Barnaby fought.
Messier was lost for the game after he bumped legs with an official during the second period and sustained a charley horse. It will be a gametime decision whether he plays Thursday at the New York Islanders.
Domi, with an official hanging onto him, pulled down Chris Simon as Simon and Bryan Marchment fought.
Simon received a fighting penalty, a penalty for instigating, a misconduct and a game misconduct. Greg de Vries and Darcy Tucker, who fought each other, also received game misconducts.
"We have a lot of guys that are not going to back down," Toronto captain Mats Sundin said. "We stayed together. They have a lot of big guys out there, but so do we. I thought we matched their intensity and their will to win. It wasn't pretty but we found a way to win."
"It was fun," Nolan said.
Brian Leetch, Chris Simon and Bobby Holik scored first-period goals for the Rangers, who had a four-game unbeaten streak before playing the Maple Leafs.
The first period featured six goals.
Stajan scored off his own rebound at 1:17 of the first, but Leetch tied it on the power-play at 5:08. Just 15 seconds later, Renberg scored on a one-timer after Nieuwendyk made a pass from behind the net.
Nieuwendyk gave Toronto a 3-1 lead by putting a rebound past goalie Jussi Markkanen at 14:47, but Simon streaked toward the net and converted Jamie Lundmark's pass less than two minutes later.
Holik tied it after a Toronto turnover at 18:47 of the first.
New York coach Glen Sather replaced Markkanen with Dunham after Simon's goal cut Toronto's lead to 3-2. Markkanen allowed three goals on 15 shots. Notes
: Carter returned after missing two games with bruised right wrist. He has five goals. ... Maple Leafs LW Gary Roberts is expected to miss at least a week with a strained muscle in his lower body. ... Toronto beat New York 4-2 on Sunday. ... The Maple Leafs' started their winning streak after a five-game winless streak. ... Rangers RW Alex Kovalev had his eight-game point streak snapped.