Sundin! Sundin! Sundin!
Mats Sundin swept the three star selections Thursday night after breaking Toronto's two biggest scoring records with a goal in the Maple Leafs' 8-1 home victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
The more than 19,000 Toronto fans roared their approval when public address announcer Andy Frost revealed the three stars of the game, and Sundin was quick to credit the Air Canada Centre faithful for their role in the accomplishment.
"The fans sticking with this team, which hasn't won a championship since '67, is a big carrot for us coming back every year to try and achieve that," Sundin said, after scoring his 390th goal for his 917th point to break ties with Darryl Sittler for club records in both categories.
"Tonight they were outstanding again and helped us play this game and helped us bounce back after a very disappointing game the other night. My respect has grown every year as a player for this city, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the fans. Hopefully, it's grown the same for me as a player."
In other NHL games Thursday night, it was: Buffalo 6, Atlanta 0; Carolina 5, Ottawa 3; Florida 3, New Jersey 0; and Phoenix 5, Nashville 3.
At Toronto, Islanders coach Ted Nolan had nothing but praise for Sundin.
"Mats is an All-Star player and what he means to the Toronto Maple Leafs and the city, the type of gentleman that he is, it's fitting for him to get that many goals and that many points," Nolan said. "He's a heck of a player."
Sundin's wasn't a pretty goal. In fact, it was an attempted pass. The puck caromed off the skate of Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt and past Wade Dubielewicz at 9:54 of the third period. When Sundin went to the bench, his teammates stood and banged their sticks against the boards while the crowd stood and cheered the Leafs' Swedish captain.
They'd done the same in the second period when Sundin was credited with an assist but were informed 5 minutes into the third period that it had been mistakenly awarded.
Nik Antropov, Ian White, Tomas Kaberle, Matt Stajan, Alex Steen, Simon Gamache and Andy Wozniewski also scored for Toronto. It was Wozniewski's first NHL goal. Stajan and Darcy Tucker each had three assists.
Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft made 30 saves, allowing only Ruslan Fedotenko's power-play goal in the first period.
"I'm extremely happy for him," Tucker said of Sundin. "He's the face of the franchise and has been for a number of years.
Ryan Miller made 20 saves for his fifth career shutout, Tim Connolly and Brian Campbell each had a goal and two assists and host Buffalo got its first win of the season.
Derek Roy, Ales Kotalik and Daniel Paille added a goal and an assist each, and Jason Pominville also scored for the Sabres, who had lost their first two games of the season. Buffalo scored three power-play goals in the first period.
The Thrashers, last season's Southeast Division-champs, have dropped their first four games of the season, their worst start since losing nine straight to open the 2002-03 season.
Tomas Vokoun stopped 29 shots and host Florida snapped a season-opening three-game losing streak.
Rostislav Olesz, Olli Jokinen and Nathan Horton scored for the Panthers, whose 0-3 start matched the worst in franchise history.
Martin Brodeur made 28 saves for the Devils, whose 1-3 start is their worst since the 2001-02 season. New Jersey is opening the season on a nine-game road trip while construction is completed on its new arena.
Erik Cole scored twice and Chad Larose had three assists, helping visiting Carolina end Ottawa's season-opening five-game winning streak.
Cam Ward stopped 27 shots and Matt Cullen and Rod Brind'Amour also scored for the Hurricanes, who improved to 3-1-1.
Fredrik Sjostrom scored two goals and Derek Morris, Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata each had a goal and an assist to lead visiting Phoenix.
Radek Bonk scored two goals for Nashville and Alexander Radulov added one.