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Sundin seals century mark

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
OTTAWA (Ticker) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs reached the century mark for the second time in three years, but have to settle for fourth place.


Mats Sundin had a goal and three assists and rookie defenseman Karel Pilar scored his first career goal as the Maple Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators, 5-2, to spoil Roger Neilson's 1,000th game as a coach.

Toronto finished with 100 points, one point behind the Northeast Division champion Boston Bruins, but will still have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Its opponent has yet to be determined. The Leafs registered 100 points for the first time in franchise history in 1999-2000.

"We're happy with home-ice advantage," said Darcy Tucker. "We wanted first in the conference, but no matter where we finished, 100 points is a pretty good season. But it won't matter once we start playing later this week."

"Whoever we face, we have a good feeling going into the playoffs this year," Sundin said. "Last year, we ended the season on a negative note and when the playoffs started, we were able to flip the switch and bring out our 'A' game. This year will be a little different, we're playing our 'A' game right now."

Sundin, who finished the season with 41 goals and 80 points, fired a cross-ice pass to Bryan McCabe in the left faceoff circle that the defenceman wristed between goaltender Patrick Lalime's pads at 5:55 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.

Pilar gave the Leafs a two-goal advantage with a slap shot from high in the slot with 3:39 remaining in the first.

"I tried to hit the post again like I've been doing the whole season, but this time it went in," Pilar said. "It felt pretty good to get my first NHL goal on the last night of the year."

Mikael Renberg and Tucker also scored for Toronto, which finished the season with a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1-0).

Benoit Brunet and Jody Hull scored for the Senators, who finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and will play Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs. Brunet's goal was his third in the last four games.

"We weren't sharp in the first period," Neilson said. "In the second it looked like we were going to come back, but unfortunately it didn't go our way."

With Toronto leading 3-2 midway through the third period, goalie Tom Barrasso made a glove save on Magnus Arvedson on a breakaway to preserve the lead. Sundin scored his 41st goal 92 seconds later for a two-goal bulge.

"It's nice to see us end the season on a good note, but none of this matters when they drop the puck for our next game," Barrasso said.

Neilson, who won his first game as coach of the Senators on Thursday, became the ninth coach in NHL history to coach 1,000 games and third this season. Ottawa is the eighth team Neilson had led from behind the bench. Usual coach Jacques Martin shifted to associate coach in order for Neilson to accomplish the feat. Anaheim's Bryan Murray and Pat Quinn of the Maple Leafs reached the plateau earlier this season.

"It was more of a fun night than an emotional night," Neilson said. "When I looked in the crowd, it looked just like those days in Vancouver. It brought back some wonderful memories and is something I won't forget."


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