TORONTO (AP) _ Mats Sundin's clutch play put the Toronto Maple Leafs into a
four-way tie for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Sundin scored twice to help the Maple Leafs beat Boston 3-2 Tuesday night
and move ahead of the Bruins atop the Northeast Division.
The Toronto captain's second goal gave Toronto a 3-2 lead with 6:44 left. He
leads the NHL in winning goals (10) and third-period points (33). The Maple
Leafs are tied with Ottawa, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay for first overall in the
Eastern Conference with 84 points. Boston has 82.
``I've never seen anything like it. It shows how competitive the league is
now,'' Sundin said. ``It's going to stay this way right until the end.''
Toronto's Ed Belfour appeared headed for his second straight shutout after
missing 11 of 12 games, but Martin Lapointe spoiled the bid with a goal just 17
seconds into the third.
Boston's Joe Thornton tied it five minutes later, but Sundin skated in
unchecked before putting the puck between goalie Andrew Raycroft's pads.
``Mats always comes up with the big goals for us,'' Belfour said. ``How many
times has he scored a big goal for us night after night? It's not surprising.''
Belfour, plagued recently by a sore back, made 19 saves including several
impressive stops in the final two minutes. Fans chanted `Eddie!, Eddie!' in the
final seconds. Belfour stopped 17 shots in Saturday's 3-0 victory over New
Toronto outshot New Jersey 16-3 in the opening 20 minutes of that game, and
the Maple Leafs outshot Boston 18-7 in the first period Tuesday.
``We have to find a way to get ourselves going earlier,'' Raycroft said.
``Every game is big.''
Sundin gave Toronto a 1-0 lead from the side of the net after Toronto won a
faceoff less than three minutes in.
Ponikarovsky's shot deflected off the skate of Boston defenseman Nick
Boynton and in at 1:51 of the second.
Lapointe shot the puck in off Belfour's skate as he skated behind the net,
and Thornton tied it just over five minutes later by putting his own rebound
The second period featured three fights after Toronto's Bryan McCabe checked
Thornton into the boards in the second. Boynton went after Belfour and fought
Toronto's Drake Berehowksy.
After McCabe left the penalty box for his boarding infraction, Thornton sent
him to the ice in a one-sided fight.
About three minutes later, Toronto's Gary Roberts fought ex-teammate Travis
Green, who didn't look like he wanted to fight after he dropped his gloves.