for this game

Antropov's natural hat trick downs Rangers

Dec 7, 2007 - 4:21 AM
By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Once the Toronto Maple Leafs resumed crashing the net, they were on their way to another victory.

Nik Antropov recorded a natural hat trick after the Maple Leafs squandered a two-goal lead, lifting the club to its fourth straight win, a 6-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday.

Toronto scored on two rebounds, a tip-in and a pair of deflections to keep alive its longest winning streak of the season. The Maple Leafs also climbed above .500 (12-11-6) for the first time since October 27, when they recorded a 4-1 win here.

"It's a great for win for us, and we talked about getting our back end and moving the puck across the line a little bit. Instead of getting bombs to the net, just trying to get some pucks to the net," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. "I still didn't think we got enough pucks to the net, but we were right, I was wrong and we scored enough.

"Some basic things, some tips, that's how we scored our goals against Nashville (on Tuesday) and that's how we scored them today. We worked hard down low, got it back to the point and worked hard to get to the net."

Toronto is on its longest winning streak since also winning four in a row from January 27-February 3. The Maple Leafs have won their last two despite recording a combined 31 shots on goal.

"It's a great feeling inside the team right now," Antropov said. "Everybody is happy and we're just enjoying (it) right now."

"Except for the first and second goal, there's not much (Rangers goaltender Henrik) Lundqvist could have done," Toronto captain Mats Sundin added. "Right now, the puck is bouncing our way, and we'd like to ride that as long as we can."

Matt Stajan and Sundin scored in the first 10 1/2 minutes of the contest to give Toronto a 2-0 bulge. But New York answered late in the first period with power-play goals by defensemen Daniel Girardi and Fedor Tyutin, which did little to ease coach Tom Renney's uneasiness about the contest.

"You could see that we weren't quite there," Renney said. "I didn't see a sustained forecheck. I didn't see enough attack speed and pressure beyond that in the offensive zone."

That was it for the Rangers as Antropov scored the next three tallies to open a 5-2 advantage. The native of Kazakhstan sandwiched man-advantage goals around a deflection of defenseman Ian White's slap shot late in the second to record his second career hat trick.

"I just did my part, stand in front of the net," Antropov said.

Antropov registered his first three-goal game in the NHL on December 20, 1999 against Florida. The big night Thursday gave him five goals in his last three contests following a 10-game drought.

"It's great to see him get three goals tonight," Sundin said. "I thought he was one of our best players tonight."

After Antropov parked his 6-6 frame in front of the net and deflected defenseman Pavel Kubina's wrist shot from the right faceoff circle 3 1/2 minutes into the third period to complete his feat, Alex Steen sealed the victory with 76 seconds remaining.

"He has just an incredible set of hands for that exactly - knocking pucks down," Maurice said of Antropov. "Not the kind of hands that Kyle Wellwood or (Jaromir) Jagr has, but Nik can knock pucks out of the air and off people's sticks, and that's where he really, really excels."

The Rangers were dealt consecutive regulation losses for the third time this season and first since October 13-18. They also fell to 3-4-1 in their last eight contests.

"Tonight was kind of a head-scratcher," New York's Brendan Shanahan said. "I think we said all the right things in the room. We wanted to come out and play a certain way, and right away, we kind of got behind the eight ball."

Toronto went nearly 15 minutes without a shot on goal after Sundin's tap-in at the left doorstep gave them a 2-0 lead. The Maple Leafs ended their drought during a four-minute power play created when Mark Bell drew a high-sticking penalty on defenseman Marek Malik.

Late in the man advantage, Toronto finally broke through as Lundqvist was unable to smother Steen's wrist shot, allowing Antropov to grab the rebound and put in a backhander on the glove side at 5:11 of the middle session to extend his goal-scoring streak to three games.

Antropov, who is four goals shy of his career high of 18 set last season, started the play leading to the third goal and then finished off Toronto's fourth by emerging from the left side and getting his stick on White's blast from the left point.

"Right now, he's showing how good he is," Sundin said. "He's really a complete player in my book. He makes great plays, and tonight, he showed that great eye-hand coordination to score some tip-in goals."

New York rallied from the early deficit behind the playmaking of offseason acquisitions Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, who both assisted on the goals by Girardi and Tyutin.

Steen, Sundin and Stajan each added an assist, Alexei Ponikarovsky and defenseman Hal Gill set up two tallies apiece and Vesa Toskala made 23 saves for the Maple Leafs.

Lundqvist allowed four goals on 10 shots over two periods before being replaced by Stephen Valiquette, who made four saves in the third session.

"It was a tough loss for us," said Lundqvist, who has allowed eight goals in his last two starts and was pulled for the first time since March 27 at Montreal. "I don't know the reason for it. A big part of our game is goaltending. I know I have to play better."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 2 2 2 6
    NY RANGERS 2 0 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATT STAJAN 7 (CHAD KILGER) 3:30
    TOR - MATS SUNDIN 14 (ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY, HAL GILL) 10:36
    NYR - (PP) DAN GIRARDI 4 (SCOTT GOMEZ, CHRIS DRURY) 16:25
    NYR - (PP) FEDOR TYUTIN 4 (SCOTT GOMEZ, CHRIS DRURY) 18:59
    2N

    Dec 6 9:28 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 6
    NY RANGERS 2
    3RD PRD: TOR - ALEX STEEN 5 (MATT STAJAN) 18:44

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 6 9:28 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 5
    NY RANGERS 2
    3RD PRD: TOR - (PP) NIK ANTROPOV 14 (PAVEL KUBINA, MATS SUNDIN) 3:34

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 6 9:03 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 2 2 4
    NY RANGERS 2 0 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATT STAJAN 7 (CHAD KILGER) 3:30
    TOR - MATS SUNDIN 14 (ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY, HAL GILL) 10:36
    NYR - (PP) DAN GIRARDI 4 (SCOTT GOMEZ, CHRIS DRURY) 16:25
    NYR - (PP) FEDOR TYUTIN 4 (SCOTT GOMEZ, CHRIS DR

    Dec 6 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 4
    NY RANGERS 2
    2ND PRD: TOR - IAN WHITE 3 (HAL GILL) 16:40

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 6 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    NY RANGERS 2
    2ND PRD: TOR - (PP) NIK ANTROPOV 12 (ALEX STEEN, ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY)
    5:11

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 6 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 2 2
    NY RANGERS 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATT STAJAN 7 (CHAD KILGER) 3:30
    TOR - MATS SUNDIN 14 (ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY, HAL GILL) 10:36
    NYR - (PP) DAN GIRARDI 4 (SCOTT GOMEZ, CHRIS DRURY) 16:25
    NYR - (PP) FEDOR TYUTIN 4 (SCOTT GOMEZ, CHRIS DR

    Dec 6 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    NY RANGERS 2
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) FEDOR TYUTIN 4 (SCOTT GOMEZ, CHRIS DRURY) 18:59

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 6 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) DAN GIRARDI 4 (SCOTT GOMEZ, CHRIS DRURY) 16:25

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 6 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    NY RANGERS 0
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 14 (ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY, HAL GILL) 10:36

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 6 7:31 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    NY RANGERS 0
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATT STAJAN 7 (CHAD KILGER) 3:30 (WITH EXTRA ATTACKER)

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 6 7:18 PM
  • 10
    roots
    droozilla Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 6 12:40 AM
  • droozilla I hate the rangers, but I hate the leafs just a little bit more.

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 6 12:40 AM
  • 5
    roots
    hockeygoalie990 Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs vs. RangersDec 5 12:42 AM