"We needed that to keep our season alive," Sundin said.
"Tampa got beat pretty bad."
Toronto moved within five points of eighth-place Tampa Bay, 6-2
losers to Atlanta on Tuesday night. The Maple Leafs have four games
left -- the Lightning three.
Sundin was one short of his career high of five goals, set March
4, 1992, against Hartford while he played for Quebec.
"You don't get that kind of chance too many times in this
league. Tonight was my night, that's for sure," Sundin said.
After Florida's Nathan Horton was penalized for holding, Sundin
passed to Kaberle, whose one-timer from the faceoff circle gave
Toronto the victory.
"He took it over by himself. It was one of the single best
games I've ever seen," teammate Darcy Tucker said of Toronto's
"He's played unbelievable. He's willing us."
Joe Nieuwendyk scored three goals and added an assist for the
Panthers, who have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Nieuwendyk played for the Maple Leafs two years ago.
"We understood the situation. They still have a tough road
ahead of them," Nieuwendyk said. "But when you play in a
high-tempo game like that you want to win. Unfortunately, we shot
ourselves in the foot."
Sundin tied it at 4 at 3:11 of the third on the power play and
gave Toronto the lead at 11:10 of the third after redirecting a
pass from the boards as he stood alone in front of the net.
Nieuwendyk, however, assisted on Jay Bouwmeester's tying goal at
16:37 of the third.
Toronto outshot Florida 53-26, reaching a season high in shots.
"Mats has been a great leader for us. We are never going to
give up," Kaberle said. "We got four games left. We'll take them
one at a time."
Nik Antropov also scored for Toronto.
Olli Jokinen and Jay Bouwmeester added goals for the Panthers.
Jokinen scored his 37th goal of the season on a breakaway by
firing a slap shot past Jean-Sebastien Aubin at 7:29 of the first.
Just 32 seconds later Nieuwendyk gave Florida 2-0 lead with a
one-timer at after skating in on a 2-on-1.
Sundin scored on a power play by blasting a loose puck past
McLennan at 12:23 of the first.
Toronto trailed after one despite outshooting Florida 18-7.
Sundin scored his second 49 seconds into the second with another
slap shot on a power play. A couple of former Leafs helped Florida
regain the lead, with Gary Roberts assisting on Nieuwendyk's second
goal at 4:00 of the second.
Antropov tied it at 3 on the power play at 18:08 of the second
with a one-timer from in front of the net, his third goal in the
past six games.
Matt Stajan had a chance to give Toronto shortly after that, but
his shot hit the cross bar -- one of few Toronto chances that hit
off the post or cross bar.
Nieuwendyk regained the lead for Florida at 1:04 of the third by
skating in on a breakaway after Sean Hill flipped the puck up to
him. Toronto defenseman Ian White failed to get in front of
Nieuwendyk or top the puck from getting to him.
But Sundin tied it on the power play at 3:11 of the third with
another slap shot for his seventh career hat trick and his ninth
four-point game of his career.
Fans threw their hats to the ice in celebration.
Former Leafs captain Doug Gilmour attended the game. Walter
Gretzky also was in attendance. ... Antropov has eight points in
his last six games.