Final OT

Series (Game 4 of 4)

Toronto leads 4-0

Game 1: Sunday, November 30th
Maple Leafs4Final
Rangers2
Game 2: Tuesday, December 2nd
Rangers4Final
Maple Leafs5
Game 3: Saturday, December 13th
Rangers1Final
Maple Leafs3
Game 4: Friday, December 26th
Maple Leafs6Final
OT
Rangers5

Maple Leafs 6

(21-6-3, 51 pts)

Rangers 5

(13-13-3, 34 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 26, 2003

Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

1 2 3 OT T
TOR 1 4 0 16
NYR 1 3 1 05

M. Sundin (Maple Leafs - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

A. Ponikarovsky (Maple Leafs - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

G. de Vries (Rangers - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Leafs now have points in 16 straight

NEW YORK (AP) -- This isn't what the Toronto Maple Leafs had in mind for their final meeting with the New York Rangers.

Coming off a two-day holiday break that culminated in a game-day trip to New York, the Maple Leafs pulled out a 6-5 overtime victory that stretched their point streak to 16 games Friday night.

Mats Sundin scored 3:35 into overtime to lift Toronto, which led 4-1 and 5-2 and lost two players to injury.

"It was a strange game, a wild game," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. "We're happy with the win to say the least."

The Maple Leafs escaped with their streak intact despite being outshot 35-25. Toronto is 14-0-1-1 since last losing a regulation game on Nov. 20 at Edmonton, and 7-0-1 away from home.

The run ties the longest in the NHL since the 1999-2000 season, when points were first awarded for overtime losses.

Sundin tied former teammate Steve Thomas with his NHL-record 13th overtime goal. It was his 66th game-winning goal with Toronto and his NHL-best 29th since the start of the 2000-01 season.

"We didn't play that good and we were still up 5-2," Sundin said. "We found a way."

Matthew Barnaby scored in the third period to tie it for the Rangers. Chris Simon, Greg de Vries, Alex Kovalev and Martin Rucinsky also had New York goals.

"I don't know how everyone else feels but I don't get satisfied with one point," forward Bobby Holik said. "You are playing sloppy, you tie the game at one point, you want to win."

Gary Roberts, Darcy Tucker, Ken Klee, Ric Jackman, and Joe Nieuwendyk had the other Toronto goals.

The Maple Leafs and Rangers played their entire season series during Toronto's streak, and the Leafs finished 4-0 against their Original Six foes.

The teams scored five times within 4:15 late in the second period to turn a hard-hitting affair into a shootout that would've brought back fond memories for Rangers coach Glen Sather.

Sather, who ran the high-scoring Edmonton Oilers in the late 1980s, missed the game because he was home with the flu.

Leafs starting goalie Trevor Kidd injured his groin eight minutes into the second period. He was replaced by Ed Belfour to start the third. The Maple Leafs also lost Robert Reichel, who was knocked out of the game by defenseman Darius Kasparaitis late in the third.

The game was tied 1-1 after one period, and Toronto led 5-4 after two.

Barnaby made it 5-5 when he put in a loose puck after Eric Lindros took a backhander from the slot.

Tucker broke a 1-1 tie 6:46 into the second period, when the Maple Leafs turned a penalty to Martin Rucinsky into a power-play goal for the second time.

The Rangers earned a power play following a scuffle that broke out as Tucker scored, but couldn't convert. Instead, the Maple Leafs extended their lead just less than four minutes later.

Klee ripped a shot from the blue line that got through a double screen in front and past Mike Dunham to make it 3-1 at 10:36.

Jackman made it a three-goal advantage with 4:54 left in the period to set off the scoring burst.

But de Vries answered 17 seconds later to bring New York to 4-2.

Nieuwendyk then took a pass from Alexei Ponikarovsky and carried the puck into the left circle. He let go a hard shot that beat Dunham and popped up the water bottle on top of the net.

Again, the Rangers answered. This time it was Kovalev 43 seconds later to make it 5-3 with 1:11 left in the seesaw second period. Rucinsky made it a one-goal game with 38.8 seconds remaining.

"We've got to take a lesson from this," Tucker said. "We can take the positives out of it but we have to be much better."

Both teams changed goalies for the third period. The Rangers went to backup Jussi Markkanen while Toronto turned to Belfour. Markkanen made eight saves, Belfour stopped 11 shots.

Kidd stopped 23 of New York's first 27 shots in his third game this season and second road appearance against the Rangers. Dunham made only eight saves on 13 shots.

"Eleven goals, that's what they want, but it was ugly," Dunham said.

Game notes


Rangers RW Anson Carter sat out because of a rib injury sustained in Monday's win over Boston. ... Toronto RW Mikael Renberg missed the first game of what is expected to be a three-game absence due to family matters in Sweden. ... Kidd is day-to-day. There was no immediate update on Reichel.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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