NHL Game Summary - Toronto at New Jersey
(Sunday, March 26th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, New Jersey 3
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Matt Stajan scored the eventual game- winner to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Continental Airlines Arena.
Mats Sundin, Chad Kilger and Kyle Wellwood netted goals and Jean-Sebastien Aubin stopped 35 shots in the win for the Maple Leafs, who snapped a two-game slide.
This was Aubin's first NHL game of the season. He last won on April 2, 2004 when he played for Pittsburgh. Aubin didn't sign with the Leafs until this past summer and was playing in the American Hockey League before being recalled on March 14.
"You always wonder what it looks like when you get in there," said Aubin. "I was a bit nervous at the beginning, but the more it went along, the better it felt."
Toronto has 72 points and now trails New Jersey and Montreal by seven points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Scott Gomez had a goal and an assist and Erik Rasmussen and Patrik Elias netted goals for the slumping Devils, who have dropped four of their last five games.
Martin Brodeur stopped 26 shots in the loss for New Jersey, which with 79 points is now tied for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with Montreal.
The Maple Leafs drew first blood 8:34 into the first period. On an end-to-end rush Kilger brought the puck into neutral ice and banged it off the left boards to get it to Darcy Tucker. Tucker brought it into the Devils zone and feathered a pass between a defenders legs into the slot where Kilger one-timed it into the right corner for his 15th goal of the season.
The Devils tied the game up with a power play goal. Sergei Brylin had the puck behind the net and got it to Zach Parise at the right side of the net. Parise one-timed the shot, but it went wide, bounced off of the back boards and popped out to the left side of the net where Rasmussen banged it in with 2:18 left in the first.
Less than a minute later Wellwood smacked the puck out of mid-air and into the net to give Toronto a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Leafs grabbed themselves a 3-1 lead on Sundin's 20th goal of the season. Ian White brought the puck into the Devils zone along the right boards and dropped it to Sundin, who from the top of the right circle let fly with a slap shot that went through a screen and between Brodeur's legs with 4:07 left in the second period.
The Devils got back to within one goal 2:24 into the third period. Brodeur cleared a dump-in out of his zone and got the puck up-ice to Gomez. Gomez brought the disc into the Toronto end and made a drop pass to Brian Gionta at the right point. Gionta let fly with a slap shot that Aubin made a save on, but from in front of the net Gomez poked the rebound in.
Toronto, though, regained its two goal edge when Stajan skated in on a 2-on-1 and snapped a wrister over Brodeur's glove to make it a 4-2 game with 8:12 left.
A steady parade of Maple Leafs went to the box in the last five minutes of the game to give the Devils three power plays and two 5-on-3 opportunities.
New Jersey made Toronto pay for its undisciplined play when Gomez sent a blast from the right circle that Elias redirected past Aubin to make it a 4-3 game with 3:39 to play.
The Devils, though, were unable to net the equalizer despite the power play opportunities and pulling Brodeur towards the end of the game.
"It certainly was an unusual way to finish," said Toronto head coach Pat Quinn.
Toronto travels to Philadelphia for a game on Tuesday...The Devils travel to Ottawa for a matchup on Tuesday...The Devils went 2-for-5 with the man advantage. Toronto did not have a power play opportunity in the game...Brodeur also had an assist.
03/27 00:42:33 ET