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Blue Jacket Have All The Wright Moves

Thursday, 20.03.2003 / 10:27 PM / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
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Blue Jacket Have All The Wright Moves
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Tyler Wright completed his second hat trick of the season with 34 seconds left in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets squandered a late lead before defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-3.

Wright scored his third game-winner of the season off a pretty give-and-go with Ray Whitney. Wright skated in front, got back the puck from Whitney and whipped it over the left shoulder of goaltender Trevor Kidd.

"He just basically came over towards me and dropped the puck," Whitney said. "He continued to go on the net, both their guys slowed up. I gave it back to him and he had a clear lane to the net. I did the easy part, it was pretty much all him."

It was the career-high 18th goal of the season for Wright, who had not scored in 19 games since February 5.

Asked to comment on his goals, Wright said, "Which one? I always wanted to say that. On the last one, Ray just made a great play. I just tried to keep it up."

Owen Nolan continued paying dividends for the Maple Leafs, scoring the tying goal with 72 seconds to go in regulation. He deflected a shot by Mats Sundin past Marc Denis for his sixth goal in as many games since he was acquired from San Jose on March 5.

"We're shooting ourselves in the foot every game," Nolan said.

"We took an awful lot of penalties and it's almost like a habit right now. We have to get out of it before the playoffs."

Toronto jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Sundin in the first period and defenseman Aki Berg in the second. With the Maple Leafs shorthanded, Sundin took advantage of a mistake by defenseman Jaroslav Spacek and moved in alone before beating Denis to the stick side.

Travis Green and the Leafs took one on the chin in Columbus.

Berg fired a slap shot from the left point by Denis, who argued he had been interfered with.

Toronto defenseman Bryan McCabe also questioned the officiating after drawing four penalties, including a gross misconduct.

"Give me a break. I don't think that's a penalty at all," McCabe said, referring to a double-minor in the second period for cross-checking and unsportsmanlike conduct.

"We're battling in front and he's holding me. I gave him a little shot. If you watch the replay, it's not even a quarter of a cross-check and he goes down like a sack of potatoes. It put us down 5-on-3. If that's penalty, it's a joke."

The penalty led to a power-play goal by rookie Rick Nash, who swiped a rebound past Kidd to tie it with 4:44 to go in the period. Wright put the Blue Jackets in front just over four minutes later.

"I only had one hat trick going into this year," Wright said. "To get two, it's nice. I've been getting some flack for not scoring in 16, 17 games."

Denis turned away 29 shots to backstop Columbus to its first win against Toronto in three tries this season (1-1-1).

"We had a two-goal lead and gave it up because of the penalty situation," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said, whose team was penalized nine times. "We can't continue to have that happen."
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