TORONTO - The night belonged to Mats Sundin, and deservedly so, but a newly formed forward line also had a huge game for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Darcy Tucker, Matt Stajan and newly recalled Simon Gamache combined for two goals and six assists in an 8-1 rout of the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
"We seemed to click," said Stajan, who had one goal and three assists. "Our whole team was skating well and our line was skating well. We were getting the puck in deep. Sometimes lines have chemistry like that. We read off each other and we had that tonight. We just have to keep it going."
Any other night Stajan and his wingers would have grabbed the spotlight, but not when the team captain eclipses the franchise record for goals (390) and points (917) with a third-period goal.
"You know what, I don't want any attention for us," said Stajan. "Mats Sundin has been the biggest part of this franchise the last 10-12 years and you can't say enough of that guy. ... He doesn't just deserve this night, he deserves a lot from this city. He's meant a lot to this organization and a lot to this team every year I've been here and previous to that."
Tucker was equally effusive in his praise for his longtime teammate Sundin but also was happy to finally record his first points of the season with two assists after being held off the scoresheet in the first four games.
"I think for me I've been trying to do too much by not doing it the right way," said Tucker. "It's difficult when you start pressing as a player to find offence. I've always been one of those guys that if I play hard the offence comes."
Tucker bleeds blue and white and no one had to remind him he hadn't recorded a point yet before Thursday.
"I don't think I put a lot of pressure on myself to put up big numbers, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to help us win," said Tucker. "I think I was more disappointed in not helping us be the team that we want to be. That's where the pressure for me lies."
He looked terrific at both ends of the ice with his new linemates.
"Tonight you have to give a lot of credit to Stajan and Simon," said Tucker. "They're very creative, crafty players and it makes it easy for me to get in the open, find holes, and make plays."
Gamache was recalled from the AHL's Toronto Marlies following Tuesday night's 7-1 loss to Carolina. He responded with a goal and an assist - scoring the eighth and final goal Thursday.
"Awesome," said Gamache, who last scored an NHL goal in January 2006 with St. Louis. "It's a pretty great feeling. I've been waiting a long time for that. The eighth goal didn't mean much to the team but I really wanted to get it."
Stajan tied a career-high with the four points.
"It is nice. Sometimes you play well and you get rewarded like I did tonight but sometimes you don't get rewarded even thought you know you've played well," said Stajan. 'It's just the way the game goes tonight. I'm just happy we bounced back from Tuesday night."