ALSO ON SLAM!
Monday, January 17, 2000
Maple Leafs 5, CANUCKS 4 (OT)
Thomas sets overtime goal record
VANCOUVER -- There's no time like overtime for Steve Thomas.
Thomas scored his second goal of the game with five seconds left in overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a wild 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.
It was the 11th overtime goal of Thomas's career. After shaking off a couple Canuck defenders, Thomas let fly a shot as he was falling to the ice that sailed through Vancouver goaltender Felix Potvin's legs.
"I just was trying to go to the net so I could get a shot away," said Thomas, who had an assist. "It's just a matter of getting in position and getting a shot away."
Leafs captain Mats Sundin, who had a power-play goal and three assists, couldn't heap enough praise on Thomas.
"It was one of the best efforts I've ever seen on a goal," said Sundin, who assisted on the winner. "I've seen a lot of goals in my 10 years. He had two or three guys all over him from the red line but still ended up scoring the goal."
The Canucks forced overtime when Todd Bertuzzi scored a pair of goals just 15 seconds apart in the third period as Vancouver rallied from a 4-1 deficit.
Bertuzzi made the score 4-3 with his ninth goal of the year when his slapshot deflected in off a Toronto defenceman at 14:48. He then tied it when his floating shot from the boards eluded Toronto goaltender Curtis Joseph.
"It was one of those where you just threw it at the net," Bertuzzi said of the tying goal. "We battled back and got the point. Unfortunately, they got two points."
Canucks captain Mark Messier, who celebrates his 39th birthday today, started the comeback with his seventh goal of the season at 9:28 of the third. Donald Brashear scored the other goal for the Canucks.
Jonas Hoglund had a goal and assist for the Maple Leafs, who were embarrassed 4-0 by the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
Igor Korolev also scored for Toronto.
The Leafs, second overall in the Eastern Conference, improved their Northeast Division-lead record to 27-16-4-3.
It was a crushing loss for the Canucks, who have not won at GM Place since Dec. 22. Vancouver's record fell to 14-22-8-5.
It was also a heartbreaking loss for Potvin, who has never beaten his former Toronto teammates in three tries. Potvin finished with 26 saves, including two off Dmitri Khristich while laying flat on his stomach.
Joseph stopped 28 shots.
Sundin said he liked the character his team showed but could have done without the extra excitement of overtime.
"We were sloppy again," Sundin said. "When you're up 4-1 it's not really good to let the other team back in, especially in the third period."