Leafs Land Win in Overtime Thriller
| Super Stats
| Gameday Video(TORONTO) -
These Toronto Maple Leafs do indeed have a pulse. Tomas Kaberle
scored at 3:26 of overtime as the Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on Saturday night.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, with two, and Ian White also had goals for Toronto (1-1-1). Mats Sundin had three assists.
Mathieu Dandenault, Andrei Markov and Andrei Kostitsyn replied for the Canadiens (1-1-0).
After starting the season with consecutive losses to the Ottawa Senators, some were already writing the Leafs off. The Toronto Sun even ran a front-page headline that said: ``Leafs: Wait 'Til Next Year''
Reports of their death seem a little premature. The Maple Leafs trailed Montreal all night on Saturday before coach Paul Maurice juggled his lines and sparked his team.
Ponikarovsky was put on Sundin's wing late in the second period and quickly scored two goals to get the game back to 3-3. That set up overtime, where Kaberle one-timed a pass from Sundin and squeezed a shot through Christobal Huet's arm.
Habs defenceman Francis Bouillon was in the penalty box at the time, which gave the Maple Leafs their first power-play goal of the young season after failing to convert on their first 17 attempts.
Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala probably won himself some fans while making his first regular-season start at Air Canada Centre. He only finished with 25 saves, but several of them were breathtaking.
It took just over two minutes for the Canadiens to open the scoring. Toskala couldn't find the puck and was laying flat on his stomach when the fourth-line winger Dandenault flipped it by him at 2:43.
White evened the scored less than a minute later when he walked in from the point and hammered a shot over Huet's shoulder into the top of the goal.
The game looked like it might be heading for an 8-7 score at that point, but the teams soon settled in.
A full period passed before Markov scored short-handed at 6:05 of the second to put Montreal ahead 2-1. Christopher Higgins carried the puck into the Leafs end and twice spun away from Kaberle before finding Markov, who beat Toskala on the glove side.
Kostitsyn made it 3-1 at 16:33 after Alexei Kovalev found him with a pass. His wrist shot was one that Toskala probably should have stopped.
The Leafs were looking lifeless until Ponikarovsky scored at 18:50. Huet and defenceman Mike Komisarek
had a mixup with the puck before Sundin quickly found Ponikarovsky with a pass. He had half the net to shoot at.
The same two players hooked up early in the third period to tie the score. Sundin stole the puck from Markov before again finding a wide-open Ponikarovsky. His wrist shot beat Huet at 2:55. Notes
: Kyle Chipchura, Josh Gorges and Garth Murray were scratched by the Habs ... Wade Belak sat out for Toronto ... Sundin remained tied with Darryl Sittler for the Leafs franchise lead in goals at 389. He's only one point shy of Sittler's club-leading 916 points ... It was the 2,500th regular-season victory by the Maple Leafs ... Four of the eight games between the teams last season went to a shootout.