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Streak Ends At 16 On Long Island

Saturday, 12.27.2003 / 9:52 PM ET / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
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Streak Ends At 16 On Long Island
Scoring | Statistics

December 27, 2003

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- 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 streak.

"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 York Islanders.

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 frustration.

"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.

Game notes: The Maple Leafs recalled forward Clarke Wilm and G Mikael Tellqvist from St. John's of the AHL to fill in for C Robert Reichel (shoulder) and G Trevor Kidd (groin), injured Friday. ... Toronto is 5-1-1 in the second of back-to-back games. ... The Islanders had scored at least four goals in their five previous home games -- their longest run since December 1993. ... Colorado and New Jersey each had 16-game point streaks since the 1999-00 season.

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