|TOR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|NYR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
NEW YORK (AP) -Mats Sundin put 16 years of experience into a split-second decision.
When teammate Ian White intercepted the puck in the Toronto zone, Sundin took off. The two connected for a breakaway goal that snapped a third-period tie and lifted the surging Maple Leafs to a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
Sundin, who also assisted on Alexei Ponikarovsky's tying power-play goal in the second period, hit the 20-goal mark for the 16th straight season - every one spent in the NHL. That was enough to give the Leafs their fifth win in six games, including four on the road.
"It's a big part of my job," said Sundin, who has 516 career goals. "I get paid to be productive and score goals."
Brendan Shanahan netted one for New York, which had a two-game winning streak broken. The Rangers and Maple Leafs entered tied for ninth in the Eastern Conference, but Toronto - which had a vocal band of supporters in the stands - jumped into a three-way deadlock for seventh.
Andrew Raycroft, in his 13th straight start, made 37 saves as Toronto improved to 2-0 on its five-game trip one night after winning at Carolina. Shanahan nearly tied it with under 5 minutes left, but Raycroft stopped him at the left post.
New York's hopes of getting even were dashed when Matt Cullen took a holding penalty with 1:25 left. The Rangers have dropped four of five at home.
Sundin made the biggest play of the night, taking a long feed from White after a blocked shot in the Leafs zone.
"As soon as he did that, I decided to take off," Sundin said. "There was a big hole up the middle and he made a great pass."
The Toronto captain came in alone on Henrik Lundqvist, his Olympic gold-medal winning Swedish teammate from last year's Turin Games, and snapped a shot into the top right corner at 6:32.
"I know him a little bit," Sundin said with a smile. "I know there's nothing on a deke. He really covers the net well. I had a penalty shot on him earlier this year when he saved it."
White stopped watching after the puck left his stick.
"I figure once you give Mats a breakaway like that, he's pretty much golden," the second-year defenseman said.
Lundqvist was sharp overall again in making 26 saves. He allowed nine goals in seven games, but is 3-4 in that span. He helped keep his team in it when the Maple Leafs had three power-play chances in the first period. Toronto mustered only seven shots overall in the scoreless frame.
It was the Rangers who struck first, converting 12 seconds after Hal Gill was sent off for cross-checking Jason Krog in the Maple Leafs zone.
New York gained control of the puck and Shanahan fired a shot from the right circle. The puck rebounded to defenseman Karel Rachunek, who quickly slid it across to Jaromir Jagr for a drive. Shanahan, stationed in front, deflected the shot in with his left skate - drawing an immediate protest from Raycroft.
The play was reviewed and Shanahan's team-leading 26th goal stood up at 12:07 of the second. It gave him goals in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 1-9 when he connected in three straight.
But Shanahan used his postgame talk to stick up for Jagr, calling for an end to unfair officiating he feels his teammate endures.
"I've never seen a superstar player treated like he is by the refs," Shanahan said. "I don't know what it is, maybe prejudice against him. He doesn't complain. Referees might have a different set of rules against Jagr. In the NBA, they didn't let anyone grab (Michael) Jordan.
"He can draw penalties on every shift."
Rachunek was 24 seconds into a boarding penalty when Ponikarovsky netted his 16th goal while attempting a pass. He slid the puck through the crease, but it ricocheted past Lundqvist off the right skate of defenseman Aaron Ward at 13:34.
"I wasn't facing the play," Ward said. "I was unlucky."
The goal served as payback for Ponikarovsky, who earlier in the period was flattened by Ward's hard shoulder check. Ponikarovsky stayed down on his stomach, holding his head, for several minutes before gingerly making his way back to the bench.
Notes: Rangers C Ryan Hollweg, without a point this season despite playing in the first 50 games, was benched. ... New York D Michal Rozsival sat out after spraining a knee Monday at Boston. ... Sundin has 1,213 points in 1,201 NHL games. ... Rangers C Petr Prucha, who entered with 18 penalty minutes this season, earned six on three separate infractions.
|PPG - Brendan Shanahan (26) ASST: Jaromir Jagr (43), Karel Rachunek (14)|
1 - 0 NYR
|PPG - Alexei Ponikarovsky (13) ASST: Mats Sundin (26), Tomas Kaberle (34)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Mats Sundin (20) ASST: Ian White (18)|
2 - 1 TOR
|Karel Rachunek Tripping against Mats Sundin|
|Alexei Ponikarovsky Too many men on the ice|
|Petr Prucha Hooking against Travis Green|
|Petr Prucha Delaying Game - Puck over glass|
|Hal Gill Cross checking against Jason Krog|
|Karel Rachunek Boarding against Jeff O'Neill|
|Petr Prucha Roughing against Nik Antropov|
|Nik Antropov Hi-sticking against Aaron Ward|
|Colton Orr Too many men on the ice|
|Matt Cullen Holding against John Pohl|
|SA: 38||TOI: 59:39|
|Saves: 37||EV: 31 - 31|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 5|
|SV%: .974||SH: 2 - 2|
|SA: 28||TOI: 59:42|
|Saves: 26||EV: 23 - 24|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 4|
|SV%: .929||SH: 0 - 0|