NHL Game Summary - Toronto at New Jersey
(Saturday, December 31st)
Final Score: Toronto 6, New Jersey 3
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Tomas Kaberle scored once and had two assists and Toronto erupted for four second-period goals en route to a 6-3 victory over New Jersey at Continental Airlines Arena.
Jeff O'Neill and Darcy Tucker each finished with a goal and an assist, while John Pohl recorded his first career NHL goal to help the Maple Leafs extend their win streak to a season-high five games.
Ed Belfour compiled 23 saves in the triumph.
Scott Gomez recorded his second career hat trick to account for all the scoring for the struggling Devils, who fell for the fifth time in six outings. Martin Brodeur stopped just 16 of 22 shots.
"It's been a bad 2005," said Gomez. "All of us are kind of embarrassed right now. We've let (our) fans down."
The Maple Leafs trailed 2-1 early in the second period before scoring twice within a 19 second span to forge ahead.
Mariusz Czerkawski jammed in a rebound of a Clarke Wilm shot at the 7:26 mark to tie the game, and Tucker put home a feed by O'Neill on a 2-on-1 rush shortly after the ensuing faceoff to give Toronto a 3-2 lead.
The Devils got themselves in more trouble just seconds after Tucker's tally when Grant Marshall was sent to the box for holding, and Toronto cashed in on the man advantage.
Kyle Wellwood moved into the crease area and tried a backhand that was saved by Brodeur. However, O'Neill was right there to poke the carom past a prone Brodeur to make it a two-goal game near the midway mark of the session.
Kaberle capped Toronto's second-period uprising with a blast from the right point off a faceoff win by Wilm with 5:54 to go in the frame.
"We knew we had to keep coming," said Kaberle. "We didn't hold back and we pressured them hard."
Pohl put in the rebound of a Tucker slap shot with the Leafs on a 5-on-3 to make the score 6-2 less than five minutes into the third period.
Gomez completed his hat trick with 12:12 remaining with New Jersey on the power play.
The Devils started the game very strong and took a 1-0 lead less than four minutes in. Brian Gionta found Zach Parise down the left wing and the rookie sent a pinpoint pass in front of the net to an open Gomez, who slid the puck past Belfour's right pad.
New Jersey had a chance to extend the margin with a power-play opportunity later on in the period, but Alexander Mogilny's centering pass was intercepted and the puck was sent out to Mats Sundin, who skated down the right side and ripped a wrister by Brodeur's glove for a shorthanded marker at 9:02.
Gomez put the Devils back in top just 1:27 into the second after converting a penalty shot that was awarded when the centerman was pulled down from behind by Ken Klee.
Gomez's other three-goal game came during his rookie season against the Rangers on December 26, 1999. He now has five goals over his last two games...Tucker extended his point streak to seven games and has four goals and five assists over that stretch...The Devils went just 1-of-9 on the power play and are 6-of-49 with the extra skater over their last six contests...Gionta finished with a pair of assists...Sundin's goal was Toronto's 10th shorthanded tally this year, which only trails Ottawa (11) for the most in the league...New Jersey completed the month of December with a 4-8-3 record...The Maple Leafs posted a 2-1 decision over the Devils Monday in Toronto.
12/31 22:56:23 ET