NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Toronto
(Monday, March 29th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Atlanta 2
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Gary Roberts was credited with the go-ahead goal early in the third period and he added an assist to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers at Air Canada Centre.
Ed Belfour stopped 23 shots for Toronto, which pulled into a first-place tie with the idle Boston Bruins and remained one point ahead of the Ottawa Senators in the tight Northeast Division. Boston, however, has two games in hand over the Maple Leafs. Ottawa has one game in hand over Toronto.
"It's just amazing how tight it really is," Roberts said. "Every day you look at the standings and you go from second to fourth to sixth. We're going to be doing a lot of scoreboard watching the next few days."
Alexander Mogilny also had a goal and an assist as the Maples Leafs improved to 2-0-1 in their last three and 4-1-1 in their last six.
With the game tied at 2-2 in the third, Toronto scored twice within the first seven minutes to pull away. First, Roberts tallied the eventual game-winner 3:44 into the frame. Mogilny skated with the puck between the circles and attempted to send a pass to Roberts in the left slot. However, it appeared that Atlanta's Andy Sutton, who was defending Roberts, inadvertently re- directed the puck with his skate into his own net.
Then, 2:59 later on the power play, Nik Antropov extended the lead to two goals. After a Joe Nieuwendyk wrap-around shot from behind the net was stopped by Pasi Nurminen, Antropov backhanded the rebound past the netminder. Ron Francis also had an assist on the play.
Toronto, which had to kill off a two-man advantage midway through the third to preserve the win, closes out the season with a two-game road trip that starts Friday in Buffalo and ends Saturday at Ottawa.
Nurminen finished with 34 saves for the Thrashers, who lost in regulation for only the second time in nine games (5-2-1-1).
Each team scored a pair of first-period goals, with Atlanta jumping ahead 2-0 before Toronto sent it into the second tied at 2-2.
The Thrashers' first goal came on the power play. Dany Heatley gathered a rebound of his own shot and pounded the puck home just 4:47 into the game. Serge Aubin increased the scored just 45 seconds later, gathering a loose puck in front of the net and beating Belfour.
The Leafs ended the period with a flurry. After Brian Leetch was stopped on an attempt, he gathered the rebound and from the right corner fed a pass in front to Tie Domi, who beat Nurminen with 6:54 remaining. Mogilny then tied it for Toronto, taking a Roberts pass from behind the net and scoring with just 37 seconds left.
Mats Sundin, who had an assist on the go-ahead goal, also had an assist on Mogilny's goal.
Toronto finished 22-14-3-2 at home, going only 12-11-2-2 over its final 27 at home...The Leafs have won three straight and five of six in this series...The NHL Board of Governors approved the $250 million sale of the Thrashers by AOL Time Warner to Atlanta Spirit LLC earlier in the day. The new ownership group is headed by Boston businessman Steve Belkin. The move mirrors the same approval that the NBA gave earlier this month for the Hawks to also be sold to Belkin's group...Randy Robitaille and Vyacheslav Kozlov assisted on Heatley's score...Shawn McEachern and Ivan Majesky had helpers on Aubin's goal...The Thrashers have just two games remaining on the season. They host Pittsburgh on Friday and travel to Tampa on Saturday...The line of Sundin, Roberts and Mogilny had six points, after being held without a point in the previous two games.
03/29 23:44:36 ET