TORONTO (AP) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs didn't lose the game, but they were
forced to rally without one of their star players.
Matt Stajan scored the tying goal with 3:02 left in regulation and the Maple
Leafs rallied for a 3-3 tie against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Toronto forward Owen Nolan didn't return after Buffalo's Jay McKee
high-sticked him in the face early in the first period. Nolan dropped to the
ice and kicked his skates. McKee wasn't penalized.
"Apparently, there was blunt trauma to the eye as well as to the cut,"
said Toronto coach Pat Quinn, who said Nolan was having trouble seeing out of
his left eye. "There's no reason to believe that it is real bad, except that
he's not seeing things well right now. That indicates the eyeball was probably
Nolan was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.
McKee showed remorse after the game.
"First chance I had, I skated over to their bench and asked Mats Sundin how
he was doing. I wanted to make sure I didn't get him in the eye," McKee said.
"I felt bad. I sent over an apology in between the first and second period.
Hopefully, it's nothing serious."
Sundin said the officials missed the call.
"They must have just looked away. It was obvious for us sitting on the
bench. I don't know if they are going to review that," he said.
The eye injury brought bad memories back to the Leafs who were around when
Bryan Berard was severely injured in March 2000. Berard, now with Chicago,
missed the rest of that season and all of the 2000-01 campaign after being hit
in the eye by the stick of Ottawa's Marian Hossa.
"It gave us some flashbacks," Sundin said. "We had the Bryan Berard
incident, you don't want to see that."
Down 3-1 in the third period, Sundin scored a power-play goal before Stajan
tipped Ken Klee's slap shot past Martin Biron.
Toronto outshot Buffalo 37-16.
"We were the better team out there, but sometimes it doesn't work your way.
We're lucky we got a point," Stajan said.
A couple of Sabres thought Stajan kicked the puck in, but Stajan denied it.
"I was trying to get out of the way. I lifted my foot," Stajan said.
"They might have thought I was kicking at it, but I don't know how you can
kick a shot going that hard. The puck had eyes. It was a nice bounce for our
Miroslav Satan, Chris Drury and Rory Fitzpatrick scored second-period goals
for the Sabres, who have a point in five of six games.
Biron made 34 saves.
"Stajan kicked it in. It hit the inside of his skate and went in," Biron
Klee almost scored with less than a minute left in overtime, but Biron made
a kick save.
Sundin and Gary Roberts also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won just
one of four games since earning at least one point in a team-record 16 straight
Toronto's Ed Belfour allowed three goals on 16 shots.
Satan, who had a hat trick on Wednesday, scored his 15th goal of the season
by putting a rebound past Belfour at 5:01 of the second. Just under two minutes
later, Drury's wrist shot hit the camera inside the net to give Buffalo a 2-1
After Sundin turned the puck over during a Buffalo power play, Fitzpatrick's
slap shot trickled through Belfour's pads at 13:53 of the second.
Sundin cut it to 3-2 at 1:48 of the third after Bryan McCabe made a
centering pass on the power play.
Sundin made a nice centering pass between two defensemen to Roberts, who
gave Toronto a 1-0 lead on the power play at 6:52 of the first.