for this game

Kubina nets another game-winner for Maple Leafs

Mar 19, 2008 - 3:17 AM
UNIONDALE, New York (Ticker) -- Not even the arrival of prized prospect Kyle Okposo could help reverse the fortunes of the New York Islanders.

Kyle Wellwood tied the game at 7:24 of the third period and defenseman Pavel Kubina snapped the deadlock less than four minutes later as the Toronto Maple Leafs handed the Islanders their sixth consecutive loss by posting a 3-1 victory on Tuesday.

Alexei Ponikarovsky added an empty-netter and an assist and Wellwood also set up a goal for the Maple Leafs (33-31-10), who remained six points behind the Philadelphia Flyers (36-28-10) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I can't remember the last time I had a multi-point game," said Wellwood, who last accomplished the feat with two assists against Tampa Bay on December 10. "It had to be at least 50 games or so."

Defenseman Rob Davison scored the lone tally for New York (32-35-7), which fell 11 points behind Philadelphia.

"I don't care who is in the lineup, we have to compete," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "We didn't have any drive. We played OK, but OK isn't getting you into the playoffs."

Drafted seventh overall in 2006, the 19-year-old Okposo made his NHL debut, seeing 14 minutes, 45 seconds of ice time on 15 shifts and recording two shots on goal. The native of Minnesota registered 24 points in 29 games with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League prior to being recalled by New York on Monday.

"I was a bit jittery at first and psyched myself out," Okposo said. "I thought the game was faster than it was. I started to calm down in the second and third (periods). I thought I played all right, and it's unfortunate we didn't get a win tonight."

"He's going to be a good player," Islanders captain Bill Guerin said. "You know he has skills. Only Mario (Lemieux) came out and had a great first shift and just was ready to go. It takes time. There are very few guys who just jump in and become stars."

Ranked last in the East in goals, the Islanders struggled to score in this one. But they grabbed a 1-0 lead on a fluke tally while shorthanded in the first period.

From behind the end line in his own zone, Davison fired the puck up the ice on a clearing attempt. After taking several short bounces, the puck skipped past goaltender Vesa Toskala and into the net, giving New York the advantage with 6:12 remaining in the first.

"It just took a bad bounce right in front of me," said Toskala, who was a teammate of Davison with the San Jose Sharks. "Those things happen. It's been close to happening a few times, for sure. If it was going to happen, I'm glad it was for my buddy from San Jose."

"I don't think I've ever seen anything like that in person," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. "The puck went in three different directions. I felt bad for (Toskala). ... I wasn't worried about it at the time because we were playing well. But when it was getting to the third period and we were still trailing, 1-0, I was getting a little uneasy."

Toskala also received support from his teammates in regard to the unfortunate event.

"Players make mistakes all the time, but when a goalie makes a mistake, everybody sees it," Kubina said. "He was the reason we won because he kept us in the game."

"To be honest, the whole game, the puck was bouncing like that," said Toronto's Alex Steen, who had a pair of assists. "I think they had the circus in here, and the ice wasn't very good."

The bizarre goal, which was Davison's first since December 6, 2005 while with the Sharks, held up until 7:24 of the third, when Toronto spared the Finnish netminder the embarrassment of losing on such a strange play.

From the top of the left faceoff circle, Steen unleashed a wrist shot. Wellwood made a perfect redirection, tipping the puck between the pads of netminder Wade Dubielewicz for his seventh goal of the season and a 1-1 tie.

"I saw Welly go to the net," Steen said. "I tried to get it to him and he tipped it nice."

While on the power play, Toronto moved ahead at 11:09, when Kubina blasted a shot from the blue line that sneaked between the legs of a screened Dubielewicz.

"Kabby (All-Star defenseman Tomas Kaberle) fed it over to me and I just shot it," Kubina said. "We were moving the puck well, especially on the power play. We're playing with much more confidence, and it shows."

The goal proved to be the fourth game-winner of the season for Kubina, who scored both decisive tallies in the Maple Leafs' sweep of a home-and-home series with the Flyers last week.

"Pavel's shooting more with confidence," Maurice said. "He's got such a heavy, heavy shot."

The Maple Leafs had a goal waved off later in the third, but Ponikarovsky sealed the win with an empty-netter with 28 seconds remaining.

Making his 25th straight start, Toskala made 27 saves for Toronto, which has won four of its last six overall and extended its road winning streak to four.

Starting in place of All-Star Rick DiPietro, Dubielewicz stopped 23 shots for the Islanders, who have dropped five in a row at home. DiPietro underwent an MRI on his hip earlier Tuesday.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0 3 3
    NY ISLANDERS 1 0 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - (SH) ROB DAVISON 1 (UNASSISTED) 13:48
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: TOR - KYLE WELLWOOD 7 (ALEX STEEN, ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY) 7:24
    TOR - (PP) PAVEL KUBINA 10 (TOMAS KABERLE, KYLE WELLWOOD)
    11:09
    TOR - (EN) ALEXEI PONIKA

    Mar 18 9:28 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    3RD PRD: TOR - (EN) ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY 17 (UNASSISTED) 19:32

    Maple Leafs 3, Islanders 1  3rd - 0:28Mar 18 9:26 PM
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    Maple Leafs 3, Islanders 1  3rd - 0:28Mar 18 9:26 PM
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    Maple Leafs 2, Islanders 1  3rd - 1:00Mar 18 9:24 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    3RD PRD: TOR - (PP) PAVEL KUBINA 10 (TOMAS KABERLE, KYLE WELLWOOD)
    11:09

    Maple Leafs 2, Islanders 1  3rd - 8:51Mar 18 9:13 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    3RD PRD: TOR - KYLE WELLWOOD 7 (ALEX STEEN, ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY) 7:24

    Maple Leafs 1, Islanders 1  3rd - 12:36Mar 18 9:01 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0 0
    NY ISLANDERS 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - (SH) ROB DAVISON 1 (UNASSISTED) 13:48
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 8 12 20
    NYI 6 9 15
    GOALIES: TOR - VESA TOSKALA
    NY

    Mar 18 8:32 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0
    NY ISLANDERS 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - (SH) ROB DAVISON 1 (UNASSISTED) 13:48
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 8 8
    NYI 6 6
    GOALIES: TOR - VESA TOSKALA
    NYI - WADE DUBIE

    Mar 18 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    1ST PRD: NYI - (SH) ROB DAVISON 1 (UNASSISTED) 13:48

    Maple Leafs 0, Islanders 1  1st - 6:12Mar 18 7:33 PM
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