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Sundin caps hat trick, Maple Leafs' OT victory with 500th goal

Oct 15, 2006 - 1:44 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Mats Sundin could not possibly have picked a more dramatic way to score his 500th career goal.

Sundin completed a hat trick with a shorthanded goal 50 seconds into overtime, giving the Toronto Maple Leafs a dramatic 5-4 triumph over the Calgary Flames.

The NHL's all-time leader with 15 career overtime goals, Sundin's flair for the dramatic reached new proportions Saturday.

The Maple Leafs' captain skated over the blue line and drilled a slap shot from above the left faceoff circle over the left shoulder of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff for the game-winner.

"I'm very proud of (500 goals)," Sundin said. "I think more than anything, I'm relieved. I didn't want to have that hanging over my shoulder as the season went on. It's an achievement not many players have reached in this league and I really appreciate it."

Adding to the drama was the fact that the goal came with Toronto down a skater. Darcy Tucker was whistled for hooking with eight seconds left in regulation, allowing Calgary to open the extra session with the man advantage.

"You're 3-on-4 and you're just trying to get a shot on net," Sundin said. "Sometimes when you have a defenseman in front of you, you can use him as a screen. I didn't want to make a pass and have (Calgary) go the other way on an odd-man rush. It was kind of a safe play and I think I fooled Kiprusoff by shooting that early I think."

Sundin became the 35th member of the exclusive 500-goal club. All but 135 of his career tallies have come with the Maple Leafs, for whom he has played since 1994.

"Our whole team was rooting for Mats to get his third (goal)," Toronto center Kyle Wellwood said. "We couldn't say anything about it, but he ended up getting it. It was incredible. I'm sure every fan in the building was elated to be a part of it. He makes such an impact on everybody around him. It was just so fitting that he could do that for us."

Tucker and Alexander Steen also tallied for Toronto, which went 1-for-7 with the extra skater. Andrew Raycroft finished with 26 saves for the Maple Leafs.

"It was good to get the win," Raycroft said. "If I can find ways to win when I don't play my absolute best that's a good sign."

Rookie defenseman Mark Giordano scored his first two career goals and Matthew Lombardi and Daymond Langkow also tallied for the Flames, who had scored just five goals through their first four games.

"It wasn't Flames hockey, but at least we battled back and got a road point," Calgary captain Jarome Iginla said. "We had our opportunity to win it, but got a bad break."

"It's a tough way to lose," added Kiprusoff, who made 38 saves. "We took a lot of penalties, but we have to be happy with one point at least."

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