|FLA||0||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||5|
|TOR||0||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||6|
TORONTO (AP) - Mats Sundin is doing all he can to keep the Toronto Maple Leafs from missing the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
Sundin had four goals and two assists and Tomas Kaberle scored with 11 seconds left in overtime to lead Toronto to a 6-5 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
"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 captain.
"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.
Notes: Former Leafs captain Doug Gilmour attended the game. Walter Gretzky also was in attendance. ... Antropov has eight points in his last six games.
|Olli Jokinen (37) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 FLA
|Joe Nieuwendyk (23) ASST: Nathan Horton (18), Martin Gelinas (23)|
2 - 0 FLA
|PPG - Mats Sundin (24) ASST: Kyle Wellwood (29), Bryan McCabe (46)|
2 - 1 FLA
|PPG - Mats Sundin (25) ASST: Kyle Wellwood (30), Bryan McCabe (47)|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Joe Nieuwendyk (24) ASST: Gary Roberts (24), Olli Jokinen (48)|
3 - 2 FLA
|PPG - Nik Antropov (11) ASST: Mats Sundin (43), Tomas Kaberle (54)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Joe Nieuwendyk (25) ASST: Sean Hill (18), Martin Gelinas (24)|
4 - 3 FLA
|PPG - Mats Sundin (26) ASST: Kyle Wellwood (31), Bryan McCabe (48)|
4 - 4 Tie
|Mats Sundin (27) ASST: Nik Antropov (18), Aki Berg (7)|
5 - 4 TOR
|Jay Bouwmeester (5) ASST: Joe Nieuwendyk (27), Nathan Horton (19)|
5 - 5 Tie
|PPG - Tomas Kaberle (8) ASST: Mats Sundin (44), Darcy Tucker (30)|
6 - 5 TOR
|Bryan McCabe Tripping against Juraj Kolnik|
|Chris Gratton Holding against Ben Ondrus|
|Alexei Semenov Interference|
|Joel Kwiatkowski Holding against Nik Antropov|
|Sean Hill Interference against Darcy Tucker|
|Kyle Wellwood Hi-sticking against Richard Jackman|
|Jon Sim Too many men on the ice|
|Jay Bouwmeester Hooking|
|Jon Sim Interference against Clarke Wilm|
|Alexei Semenov Hooking|
|Nik Antropov Roughing|
|Alexander Steen Holding|
|Alexei Ponikarovsky Boarding against Jay Bouwmeester|
|Nathan Horton Holding against Alexei Ponikarovsky|
|SA: 53||TOI: 64:44|
|Saves: 47||EV: 30 - 31|
|PIM: 0||PP: 15 - 20|
|SV%: .887||SH: 2 - 2|
|SA: 26||TOI: 64:41|
|Saves: 21||EV: 15 - 19|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 5|
|SV%: .808||SH: 2 - 2|