for this game

Predators extend home winning streak behind Sullivan, Vokoun

Feb 9, 2007 - 6:58 AM
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs entered as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Former member Steve Sullivan took it upon himself to cool them off.

Sullivan scored a goal and set up another and Tomas Vokoun made 30 saves as the Nashville Predators put an end to the Maple Leafs' five-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory.

A ninth-round pick of New Jersey in 1994, Sullivan recorded his first career 20-goal season with Toronto in 1998-99 but was waived the following campaign. The 5-9 Ontario native has been impressive ever since, reaching the 20-goal mark that season and each of the ensuing six, including 2006-07.

"It was a long time ago," Sullivan said of his exit from Toronto. "It's not the same team I played with, there are only two guys left. Things just didn't work out there and I was able to leave and grow as a hockey player. I've got no hard feelings toward the Toronto Maple Leafs."

Sullivan hit the plateau against Anaheim on Saturday, when he tallied for the fifth time in five games. The 32-year-old netted his 21st in this one, giving Nashville a 2-1 lead less than 6 1/2 minutes into the second period with a one-timer from the left faceoff circle off a cross-slot pass from Paul Kariya during a 5-on-3 power play.

The former Maple Leaf also set up a man-advantage tally by J.P. Dumont midway through the third. From the left corner, Sullivan dished across the crease to Dumont, who converted from the right side of the net at 10:09 for his 11th goal of the season and a 4-2 bulge.

"Sully found me back door and I just one-timed it," said Dumont, who is one point shy of 300 for his career. "It was a big goal for us, especially on the power play. We moved the puck around on the power play really well tonight."

It was the second power-play goal of the night for the Predators, who had 11 opportunities with the extra skater.

"We beat ourselves with all the penalties," Toronto defenseman Bryan McCabe said. "We just couldn't stay out of the box. You give a team that number of power plays, they're going to capitalize eventually."

"It's frustrating," Maple Leafs left wing Chad Kilger added. "I thought we played a pretty hard game but ended up too many times in the box."

The tally proved crucial as Vokoun lost a race for the puck nearly six minutes later, resulting in Kilger's goal that drew Toronto within one. But Vernon Fiddler secured the victory with an empty-netter in the final minute, officially halting the Maple Leafs' successful run.

"We really wanted this one tonight," Sullivan said. "They had won five in a row, they were playing playoff hockey. They are fighting for a playoff spot in the East and they are in a huge dogfight. We knew they were going to be desperate."

One key to Nashville's success in this one was its penalty-killing unit, which successfully extinguished all eight of Toronto's man advantages.

"We had a slow start today and we took a lot of penalties," Vokoun said. "We were fortunate to kill all of them. If we want to go anywhere (in the postseason), we can't take eight or nine penalties. It's just not going to work in the playoffs."

"Our PK was outstanding," Dumont added. "It was a big factor in the win."

David Legwand also scored and Jason Arnott had two assists for the Predators, who extended their home winning streak to eight games and moved one point ahead of idle Buffalo (78) in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

"I'm concerned with keeping first place in the (Central) Division more than I am the league overall," said Nashville coach Barry Trotz, whose team holds a three-point lead over Detroit. "I think that is priority No. 1. St. Louis helped us along tonight, so it was important to get a little more breathing room."

Alexei Ponikarovsky tallied for Toronto, which concluded its season-high five-game road trip with a 4-1-0 mark.

"We won't spend a whole lot of time looking back because we have to get back to work on Saturday," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "That's the challenge in this stretch, to take a punch and get back at it."

Captain Mats Sundin registered his 500th assist as a Maple Leaf, tying him with Hall of Fame defenseman Larry Murphy for 37th place on the all-time points list with 1,216.

Nashville opened the scoring with 5:07 to go in the first period. Martin Erat intercepted a pass by Toronto defenseman Pavel Kubina in the neutral zone and carried across the blue line before backhanding a lead pass into the slot to Legwand, who skated in alone and beat goaltender Andrew Raycroft to the stick side.

"We wanted to use our speed against their D and their forwards and take advantage, and that's what we did," Legwand said.

The lead lasted just 27 seconds, however, as Sundin pounced on a rebound in the bottom of the left circle and went behind the net before feeding Ponikarovsky, whose shot from low in the right circle got by Vokoun for his 15th goal. The assist was the 699th of Sundin's career.

With the Predators holding a 3-1 lead, Vokoun left his crease to chase down a loose puck. But Boyd Devereaux got to it first in the bottom of the left circle and dished to Kilger, who scored into a vacant net from the doorstep with 3:47 remaining in the third.






  • 10
    roots
    OddyOh Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs vs. PredatorsFeb 8 10:35 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 0 1 2
    NASHVILLE 1 1 2 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - DAVID LEGWAND 19 (MARTIN ERAT) 14:53
    TOR - ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY 15 (MATS SUNDIN, NIK ANTROPOV)
    15:24
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) STEVE SULLIVAN 21 (PAUL KARIYA, JASON ARNOTT)
    6:23
    3RD PRD: NAS - (PP) JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT

    Feb 8 10:33 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    NASHVILLE 4
    3RD PRD: NAS - (EN) VERNON FIDDLER 7 (UNASSISTED) 19:28

    Maple Leafs vs. PredatorsFeb 8 10:30 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    NASHVILLE 3 7:35 LEFT, 3RD PRD

    Maple Leafs vs. PredatorsFeb 8 10:15 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 0 1
    NASHVILLE 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - DAVID LEGWAND 19 (MARTIN ERAT) 14:53
    TOR - ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY 15 (MATS SUNDIN, NIK ANTROPOV)
    15:24
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) STEVE SULLIVAN 21 (PAUL KARIYA, JASON ARNOTT)
    6:23
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST

    Feb 8 9:36 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    NASHVILLE 2
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) STEVE SULLIVAN 21 (PAUL KARIYA, JASON ARNOTT) 6:23

    Maple Leafs vs. PredatorsFeb 8 9:12 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 1
    NASHVILLE 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - DAVID LEGWAND 19 (MARTIN ERAT) 14:53
    TOR - ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY 15 (MATS SUNDIN, NIK ANTROPOV)
    15:24
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 14 14
    NAS

    Feb 8 8:44 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    NASHVILLE 1
    1ST PRD: TOR - ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY 15 (MATS SUNDIN, NIK ANTROPOV)
    15:24

    Maple Leafs vs. PredatorsFeb 8 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    NASHVILLE 1
    1ST PRD: NAS - DAVID LEGWAND 19 (MARTIN ERAT) 14:53

    Maple Leafs vs. PredatorsFeb 8 8:34 PM
  • 5
    roots
    nhoh Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs vs. PredatorsFeb 8 1:28 PM