NHL Game Summary - Toronto at NY Islanders
(Thursday, April 13th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, NY Islanders 3 (OT)
Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - Matt Stajan lit the lamp with 1:08 remaining in overtime and also scored in regulation, as the Toronto Maple Leafs heightened their playoff hopes with a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Darcy Tucker and Mats Sundin also scored while Jean-Sebastien Aubin turned away 23 shots in net for Toronto, which pulled within three points of idle Tampa Bay for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Robert Nilsson, Trent Hunter and Shawn Bates had a goal apiece, as the Islanders had a modest two-game winning streak snapped. Garth Snow made 27 saves in defeat.
Stajan broke a 2-2 stalemate 4:35 in the final frame to give Toronto the lead. The Leafs broke out on a rush, with Jeff O'Neill and Alex Steen working along the left boards inside the Islanders' zone. As the defense swarmed to the puck O'Neill spotted Stajan in front and dished it to the center, who beat Snow high to the glove side with a wrister from between the circles.
Bates netted the equalizer midway through the third, tapping in a Miroslav Satan feed into the open right side of the net at the 10:54 mark.
The rest of regulation proved fruitless despite heavy action on both ends, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra session, Stajan moved out from behind the goal line, settled the bouncing puck and then released a backhander that squeaked through traffic in front and past Snow for the game-winner.
Toronto drew first blood at the 2:04 mark of the first period on Tucker's 27th marker of the season. Steen set up the scoring chance, working behind the net before sending a feed out front, where Tucker one-timed it home from the doorstep.
The Islanders got on the board with just 22 seconds remaining in the opening stanza, as Nilsson gathered Jason Blake's near miss at the right side of the cage and poked it into the wide open net to tie it at 1-1.
Hunter put New York in front with 7:33 left in the second, chipping a shot just over the right shoulder of Aubin from the slot.
The Leafs struck back with a power play tally in the closing minutes of the middle frame, however. Nik Antropov controlled the disc along the right wall before sending a crisp cross-ice pass to Sundin, who blasted a one-timer slapshot under the near side crossbar to knot things at 2-2.
The Leafs remain one point behind ninth-place Atlanta, who beat Washington 5-3 on Thursday...This was Toronto's second overtime victory in a row, also beating Florida 6-5 in OT on Tuesday...The Leafs finish out with games against Ottawa, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
04/13 21:59:33 ET