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Captain Clutch Seals It Again

Friday, 26.12.2003 / 9:28 PM / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
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Captain Clutch Seals It Again
December 26, 2003
Scoring | Stats

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Mats Sundin scored 3:35 into overtime to lift Toronto to a ragged 6-5 victory Friday night over the New York Rangers and stretch the Maple Leafs' point streak to 16 games.

Matthew Barnaby scored in the third period to tie it for the Rangers, who twice trailed by three goals.

The Maple Leafs, who couldn't protect leads of 4-1 and 5-2, 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.

(Getty Images/NHLI)
The run ties the longest in the NHL since the 1999-2000 season, when points were first awarded for losses in overtime.

Chris Simon, Greg de Vries, Alex Kovalev and Martin Rucinsky also scored for New York.

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.

The game was tied 1-1 after one period, and Toronto led 5-4 after two.

Barnaby scored the only goal in the third 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 New York's 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 they 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.

(Getty Images/NHLI)
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 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.

Both teams changed goalies for the third period. The Rangers went to backup Jussi Markkanen while Toronto turned to regular starter Ed Belfour. Markkanen made eight saves, Belfour stopped 11 shots.

Trevor 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 13 shots.

Game Notes Rangers RW Anson Carter sat out because of a rib injury sustained in Monday's win over Boston. ... Toronto RW Mikael Renberg, who had four goals and two assists in three games over a 14-day span against the Rangers, missed the first game of what is expected to be a three-game absence due to family matters in Sweden.
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