NEW YORK (AP) -- This isn't what the Toronto Maple Leafs had in mind for
their final meeting with the New York Rangers.
Coming off a two-day holiday break that culminated in a game-day trip to New
York, the Maple Leafs pulled out a 6-5 overtime victory that stretched their
point streak to 16 games Friday night.
Mats Sundin scored 3:35 into overtime to lift Toronto, which led 4-1 and 5-2
and lost two players to injury.
"It was a strange game, a wild game," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said.
"We're happy with the win to say the least."
The Maple Leafs escaped with their streak intact despite being outshot
35-25. Toronto is 14-0-1-1 since last losing a regulation game on Nov. 20 at
Edmonton, and 7-0-1 away from home.
The run ties the longest in the NHL since the 1999-2000 season, when points
were first awarded for overtime losses.
Sundin tied former teammate Steve Thomas with his NHL-record 13th overtime
goal. It was his 66th game-winning goal with Toronto and his NHL-best 29th
since the start of the 2000-01 season.
"We didn't play that good and we were still up 5-2," Sundin said. "We
found a way."
Matthew Barnaby scored in the third period to tie it for the Rangers. Chris
Simon, Greg de Vries, Alex Kovalev and Martin Rucinsky also had New York goals.
"I don't know how everyone else feels but I don't get satisfied with one
point," forward Bobby Holik said. "You are playing sloppy, you tie the game
at one point, you want to win."
Gary Roberts, Darcy Tucker, Ken Klee, Ric Jackman, and Joe Nieuwendyk had
the other Toronto goals.
The Maple Leafs and Rangers played their entire season series during
Toronto's streak, and the Leafs finished 4-0 against their Original Six foes.
The teams scored five times within 4:15 late in the second period to turn a
hard-hitting affair into a shootout that would've brought back fond memories
for Rangers coach Glen Sather.
Sather, who ran the high-scoring Edmonton Oilers in the late 1980s, missed
the game because he was home with the flu.
Leafs starting goalie Trevor Kidd injured his groin eight minutes into the
second period. He was replaced by Ed Belfour to start the third. The Maple
Leafs also lost Robert Reichel, who was knocked out of the game by defenseman
Darius Kasparaitis late in the third.
The game was tied 1-1 after one period, and Toronto led 5-4 after two.
Barnaby made it 5-5 when he put in a loose puck after Eric Lindros took a
backhander from the slot.
Tucker broke a 1-1 tie 6:46 into the second period, when the Maple Leafs
turned a penalty to Martin Rucinsky into a power-play goal for the second time.
The Rangers earned a power play following a scuffle that broke out as Tucker
scored, but couldn't convert. Instead, the Maple Leafs extended their lead just
less than four minutes later.
Klee ripped a shot from the blue line that got through a double screen in
front and past Mike Dunham to make it 3-1 at 10:36.
Jackman made it a three-goal advantage with 4:54 left in the period to set
off the scoring burst.
But de Vries answered 17 seconds later to bring New York to 4-2.
Nieuwendyk then took a pass from Alexei Ponikarovsky and carried the puck
into the left circle. He let go a hard shot that beat Dunham and popped up the
water bottle on top of the net.
Again, the Rangers answered. This time it was Kovalev 43 seconds later to
make it 5-3 with 1:11 left in the seesaw second period. Rucinsky made it a
one-goal game with 38.8 seconds remaining.
"We've got to take a lesson from this," Tucker said. "We can take the
positives out of it but we have to be much better."
Both teams changed goalies for the third period. The Rangers went to backup
Jussi Markkanen while Toronto turned to Belfour. Markkanen made eight saves,
Belfour stopped 11 shots.
Kidd stopped 23 of New York's first 27 shots in his third game this season
and second road appearance against the Rangers. Dunham made only eight saves on
"Eleven goals, that's what they want, but it was ugly," Dunham said.