TORONTO (AP) -The Toronto Maple Leafs gained sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after being inspired by a ceremony honoring their last Stanley Cup victory 40 years ago.
Mats Sundin and John Pohl and each scored twice and the Maple Leafs held on for a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
Sundin scored his seventh goal in the last 10 games for the Maple Leafs, who moved two points ahead of Montreal and the New York Islanders - who both lost.
Before the game, the Maple Leafs honored the 1967 Stanley Cup winning team - the last team to win the Cup for Toronto. Fourteen members of the team, including Dave Keon attended the ceremony. Keon, upset with a former owner and with Toronto's reluctance to retire numbers, took part in a team organized event for the first time since 1975.
"We're very surprised he's here," former teammate Ron Ellis said.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper watched as Keon received the longest ovation. Harper is writing a book about the history of hockey.
"It was great inspiration for our team and it helped us win the game," Sundin said of the ceremony. "It was special, the reception they got from the fans. It gives you goose bumps to hear the fans reaction. Forty years is a long time to go for a championship team, but it's certainly remembered."
The Swedish captain said he had no clue who Keon was before he came to hockey-mad Toronto.
"I've learned a lot about the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise the last 12 years, that's for sure," Sundin said with a smile.
|Dave Keon was on hand for a ceremony honoring the 1967 Stanley Cup Championship team, Toronto's last Stanley Cup winner.|
"Almost is not good enough any more," Smyth said of the late comeback. "It's about capitalizing on our chances and we haven't done that lately."
Sundin's quick one-timer from the faceoff circle on the power play at 11:59 of the first didn't even allow goalie Dwayne Roloson to get in position to make the stop. Toronto's captain has 13 points in the last 10 games.
"He's so unbelievable. He's a way better leader and a better guy than he is than a player and that says a lot because he's so good," Pohl said. "We're all lucky to play with him. Hopefully, he can keep playing at that level."
Pohl redirected a shot from the side of the net, giving Toronto a 2-1 lead at 4:31 of the of the second.
Just 47 seconds later a Leafs defenseman accidentally bumped goalie Andrew Raycroft to the ice, allowing Staios to cut it to 2-1 with a shot from just inside the blue line.
Pohl made it 3-1 by backhanding a rebound past Roloson at 11:24 of the second
After Toronto's Carlo Colaiacovo tripped Pouliot in front of the net, Pouliot cut it to 3-2 on his penalty shot at 17:51 of the second.
Sundin brushed off Staios and skated from behind the net before stuffing it past Rolson at 10:55 of the third.
The Oilers pulled Rolson in favor of an extra attacker and called a timeout in the final 2 minutes before Smyth scored on the power play to cut it to 4-3 at 18:57 of the third.
Edmonton almost tied it in the final seconds, but Raycroft made a big save.
Notes: Keon cautioned against reading too much into his return to Toronto, denying rumors he'll play a bigger role with the team. "This is one night, one weekend," Keon said. "Let's just leave it at that." ... Edmonton's Fernando Pisani missed his third straight game with a concussion, while center Jarret Stoll missed his seventh straight, also with a concussion. ... Raycroft played in his 20th consecutive game.