UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- In addition to becoming the NHL's top team, the
Toronto Maple Leafs also turned into perfectionists during a 16-game point
"You don't like to play the way we did and lose," said forward Darcy
Tucker, who scored Toronto's lone goal in a 3-1 loss Saturday night to the New
Toronto, on top with 51 points, went 14-0-1-1 since its previous regulation
loss Nov. 20 in Edmonton. The run tied the longest in the NHL since the 1999-00
season, when points were first awarded for overtime losses.
In the game before the Christmas break, Toronto beat Florida at home. The
Maple Leafs followed that up Friday night with a 6-5 overtime victory on the
road against the New York Rangers in which they squandered a three-goal lead.
"You could tell we weren't playing our best hockey the past three games,"
Tucker said. "Hopefully it's a little bit of a wakeup call."
Mark Parrish scored the game-winning goal for the second straight night
after netting an overtime goal Friday to beat Stanley Cup champion New Jersey.
He calmly controlled a rebound in front of Ed Belfour and steered it into
the open right side of the net 4:34 into the third period.
Mattias Weinhandl also scored for New York, which has won six straight at
home and is 8-2-0-1 since a seven-game losing streak.
"That's a pretty determined team over there," Maple Leafs forward Joe
Nieuwendyk said. "I think every team we play now is determined because of the
roll that we have been on."
Toronto had its road unbeaten streak snapped at eight games (7-0-1), one
short of the team record set in the 1947-48 season.
Parrish added an empty-net goal with 6.1 seconds left to seal it. Former
Islanders captain Bryan McCabe slammed the puck back into the net in
"It was just another hardworking goal," Parrish said. "I was just there
to clean up the scraps."
The Islanders have handed Toronto two of its seven regulation losses this
season, winning twice at home.
"We have to make it as impossible as can be for other teams to come here
and get points," Parrish said.
Both teams were coming off overtime victories the night before. Mats Sundin
scored the winner to rescue Toronto on Friday.
But there would be no road heroics against the Islanders, who have been
outscored in the third period by their opponents only twice in 14 games.
It became clear that it wouldn't be the Maple Leafs' night when, after they
pulled Belfour for an extra attacker, they were caught with too many men on the
ice with 57.4 seconds remaining.
"You just hope we can get rid of some of those mental errors," Toronto
coach Pat Quinn said. "The end of the game even, you're still not out of it
and we make the bad change for too many men on the ice. How does that happen?"
Toronto got out of the first period with a 1-0 lead, despite being outshot
8-3 and not getting a puck in on goalie Garth Snow until 13:02 elapsed.
"We had no sense of teamwork," Quinn said. "They checked us well but we
were sound asleep and really too lazy to get into the kind of position you need
to get into to move the puck."
Several times Belfour left the Maple Leafs' goal unattended as he mishandled
the puck behind the net, but the Islanders couldn't take advantage.
During an Islanders power play midway through the third, Maple Leafs
defenseman Karel Pilar bailed out Belfour by making a save that prevented New
York from taking a two-goal lead.
Tucker gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead with 4:21 left in the first period on
Toronto's third shot.
Nieuwendyk dug the pug out of the right corner and made a perfect, blind,
behind-the-back pass in front to Tucker, who was left alone at the top of the
crease. He easily beat Snow for his 13th goal and first in 12 games.
Snow started the play that led to Weinhandl's goal that tied it 5:02 into
the second period.
Gary Roberts redirected a shot in on Snow, who made a terrific save. Shawn
Bates broke up ice and found Weinhandl, who had come out of the penalty box
seconds earlier. Weinhandl came in alone, skated around Belfour and put in his
first goal of the season.