for this game

Sundin, Raycroft help Maple Leafs continue road success

Feb 1, 2007 - 5:09 AM
NEW YORK (Ticker) -- In reaching a personal milestone, Mats Sundin gave the Toronto Maple Leafs another road victory.

Sundin scored his 20th goal of the season 6 1/2 minutes into the third period, snapping a tie and lifting the Maple Leafs to a 2-1 triumph over the New York Rangers.

Drafted first overall by Quebec in 1989, Sundin had reached the 20-goal plateau each of his 15 seasons since entering the NHL in 1990-91. The Toronto captain extended the streak Wednesday, netting the decisive tally to give his team its sixth win in its last seven road games.

"It's a big part of my job," Sundin said of scoring goals. "I get paid to be productive and score goals and be part of the offense, so it's nice to be able to keep doing my job."

"That puts him in that range of Ronnie Francis, who did something like that," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. "There's only a handful of guys who have that consistency in some good years and in some lean years, too. To be that dominant (is impressive) because you have to understand with Mats, he sees the other team's best set of D, other than the best offensive line or the best defensive line, every shift, every night. To be able to do it under that pressure is special."

After the clubs traded power-play goals midway through the second period, Maple Leafs defenseman Ian White picked up a loose puck in his own zone in the third and found Sundin in the neutral zone. The Swede skated in alone on goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and wristed a shot into the top right corner of the net at 6:32, putting Toronto ahead, 2-1.

"It was a broken play, their D tried to shoot at the net," Sundin said. "I saw Ian try to break up the pass, and as soon as he did that, I started to take off. There was a big hole up the middle and Ian made a great pass to me.

"When you're on your way in, you don't really think a lot. It's something that you pretty much pre-plan, my way anyway."

Lundqvist offered no excuses for allowing the goal.

"I didn't try to guess or anything," he said. "I just tried to go out and be patient, but he beat me with a pretty good shot. ... It was a good shot, but it's always frustrating to let in a 1-on-1 situation. You want to make the save there."

White had no doubt in his mind Sundin would convert the solo chance.

"Once you give Mats a breakaway like that, he's pretty much golden," White said. "Fortunately, it went in. I pretty much knew it would."

It was the 516th career goal for Sundin, giving him sole possession of 31st place on the all-time list. The 35-year-old entered the contest tied with Colorado's Pierre Turgeon.

"He's a Hall of Famer and you can go on and on about his stats and his records and everything else," Maple Leafs goaltender Andrew Raycroft said. "He's such a great guy that you're not amazed anymore at what he does. Every night, he's contributing and being the difference in all these games."

The tally also helped improve Toronto to 14-9-3 away from home. The Maple Leafs are just 11-12-3 at Air Canada Centre.

"If we want to be a playoff team, we need to be better at home," Sundin said. "I like our road record if we can play like this on the road. Our home record has got to be the same. You need to be better at home."

Making his 13th consecutive start, Raycroft was brilliant in goal for the Maple Leafs, turning aside 37 shots - including all 12 he faced in the final session.

"I'm tired," said the netminder, who also played on Tuesday at Carolina. "I can't wait to go to bed. I'm going to get on a plane and lie down and maybe put my iPod on and shut it down. I'm tired, but at the same time, I can save my energy a little more than a skater does."

"The goaltender was great. He needed to be," Maurice said. "I didn't think we had a lot in the tank because we spent a lot last night. It was a real physical game, but you've got to find a way to win these games. You can't do it without your goalie, and he was great."

Raycroft is 8-4-1 during his recent stretch.

"He's hot," White said of Raycroft. "You've got to ride the goalie when he's making the saves, and it gives everyone else more confidence to step up and maybe be a little more offensive. So it's great to see and we hope he keeps it going."

Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored and Sundin added an assist for Toronto, which has won three straight overall and improved to 2-0-0 on its season-high five-game road trip.

"We played two really solid road games, Carolina last night and tonight," Sundin said. "If we can play like that, we'll give ourselves a chance to win every night, and we need more of that."

All-Star Brendan Shanahan tallied for the Rangers, who have lost four of their last five home games.

After a scoreless first period, New York had a golden opportunity to get on the scoreboard 3 1/2 minutes into the middle session. But Raycroft made a superb right pad save on Martin Straka during a 2-on-none rush to keep the contest even.

"I was able to get across," Raycroft said. "The guy was close enough that I had to play the shooter a fair bit. I was able to get my leg across. He had a lot of net, though. You know things are kind of going your way (if) you get over there and you get in the way and disrupt him enough that maybe he doesn't see the rest of the net."

The netminder had no chance during a power play later in the period as the Rangers grabbed a 1-0 lead. With Toronto defenseman Hal Gill in the penalty box for cross-checking, Jaromir Jagr unleashed a one-timer from the top of the right faceoff circle that was redirected with 7:53 to go by Shanahan, who guided the puck past Raycroft with his skate for his 26th goal.

Jagr extended his home points streak to 12 games with the assist, despite being constantly harassed by the Maple Leafs.

"I don't know why (the officials) ignored the hooks and the holds and the chops and the late hits on Jaromir," Shanahan said. "I don't know what it is. All I know is, it exists. It didn't happen to Steve Yzerman, didn't happen to Nicklas Lidstrom, never happened to Mike Modano, Joe Sakic.

"There's a different set of rules the referees have for (Jagr). It's something I've seen every night and I guess it's time to say something on his behalf. He doesn't complain. He's not going to complain, but I'll do it for him."

The Rangers' lead was short-lived, however, as the Maple Leafs struck 87 seconds later with a man-advantage tally of their own.

As Rangers blue-liner Karel Rachunek was serving a boarding infraction, Ponikarovsky attempted a cross-crease pass from the left side of the net. But before it had a chance to reach its intended target, the puck caromed off defenseman Aaron Ward's right skate and past Lundqvist, knotting the contest at 1-1.

Lundqvist finished with 26 saves for New York, which fell to 10-11-3 at Madison Square Garden.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 1 1 2
    NY RANGERS 0 1 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NYR - (PP) BRENDAN SHANAHAN 26 (JAROMIR JAGR, KAREL
    RACHUNEK) 12:07
    TOR - (PP) ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY 13 (MATS SUNDIN, TOMAS
    KABERLE) 13:34
    3RD PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 20 (IAN WHITE) 6:32
    POWER-PLAY CONVER

    Jan 31 10:10 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    NY RANGERS 1
    3RD PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 20 (IAN WHITE) 6:32

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersJan 31 9:44 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 1 1
    NY RANGERS 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NYR - (PP) BRENDAN SHANAHAN 26 (JAROMIR JAGR, KAREL
    RACHUNEK) 12:07
    TOR - (PP) ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY 13 (MATS SUNDIN, TOMAS
    KABERLE) 13:34
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- ---

    Jan 31 9:14 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    NY RANGERS 1
    2ND PRD: TOR - (PP) ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY 13 (MATS SUNDIN, TOMAS
    KABERLE) 13:34

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersJan 31 9:02 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    NY RANGERS 1
    2ND PRD: NYR - (PP) BRENDAN SHANAHAN 26 (JAROMIR JAGR, KAREL RACHUNEK)
    12:07

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersJan 31 8:58 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0
    NY RANGERS 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 7 7
    NYR 13 13
    GOALIES: TOR - ANDREW RAYCROFT
    NYR - HENRIK LUNDQVIST

    Jan 31 8:13 PM