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Ranger, Bure burn Leafs

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO (Ticker) -- The New York Rangers' three-game winning streak likely is too late.

Pavel Bure scored twice, including the go-ahead goal with 9:05 remaining, lifting the Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Rangers have won three straight for the first time since late January, but they likely will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season. New York is five points behind Montreal for the East's final playoff spot with four games remaining.

The Rangers have not missed the playoffs in five consecutive seasons since 1950-55.

Bure and Eric Lindros scored in the first period before the Leafs battled back to tie it early in the third. But Bure scored his 31st goal just past the midway point of the third, snapping a 2-2 tie.

Ranger goalie Dan Blackburn stopped the Leafs on numerous occasions.
(Credit: Graig Abel Photography)
Rangers rookie goaltender Dan Blackburn finished with 35 saves. He had 19 saves in the second period, when New York's defence collapsed on numerous occasions.

Prior to Alexander Mogilny's sharp angle goal, Blackburn robbed Alyn McCauley with a glove save. McCauley had broken free in the neutral zone and with New York defenceman Tom Poti trying to stay with him, he fired a hard shot that Blackburn stopped.

Blackburn has started every game since impending free agent Mike Richter went down with a fractured skull on March 22.

"We got a great job by Danny in net," Lindros said. "There were times where we really got outplayed. That second period we got outplayed. But if it wasn't for Danny we wouldn't be walking out of here with two points."

"We kind of fell apart a little bit," Poti added. "I thought we might have had the game won a bit. We kind of took it a bit easy. But Danny bailed us out and we came out and had a strong third."

Bure teamed with Lindros to give New York a 1-0 lead 54 seconds into the contest. Lindros stole the puck from Cory Cross from behind the net and fed Bure, who batted the puck out of mid-air past goaltender Corey Schwab.

Lindros made it 2-0 at 10:14 of the first, re-directing Poti's centering pass behind Schwab.

Less than three minutes into the second, the Leafs finally got some momentum and halved the deficit when Mogiliny beat Blackburn off a 2-on-1.

Toronto, which clinched its fourth consecutive playoff spot on Monday, has lost four of its last six games and trails first-place Boston by five points in the Northeast Division.

"The first period was our big problem tonight," Toronto centre Mats Sundin said. "We're playing a team that is desperate and we're trying to secure home-ice advantage and we come out flat.

"We were able to get back in the game, but it still feels like that first period should have been better."

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