How Swede it is

Maple Leafs goalie Mikael Tellqvist is all pumped up after making the final save in the shootout to...

Maple Leafs goalie Mikael Tellqvist is all pumped up after making the final save in the shootout to give Toronto the victory over the visiting Boston Bruins last night. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

The Maple Leafs toasted victory last night, but it was a strange brew indeed.

With a lot of pluck, rare shootout magic and help from hot-tempered visitor Nick Boynton, Toronto erased a pair of two-goal deficits in a 5-4 win over the Boston Bruins.

Throw in some key Mikael Tellqvist saves and another healthy dash of Ben Ondrus and the Leafs still are hanging on in the playoff race. The New York Islanders won last night, moving in lockstep with the Leafs to two points back of the Atlanta Thrashers and five behind the biggest quarry, the eighth-place Montreal Canadiens.

"Let's face it, we got lucky in many ways (last night)," coach Pat Quinn said.

"But there were some good signs."

Toronto now has earned seven of a possible eight points, winning for just the third time in eight of the dreaded shootouts. In between blowing two 5-on-3s, the Leafs had goals from Mats Sundin and Bryan McCabe during a long two-man advantage, created in part by a Boynton rant. He blasted referee Dan O'Halloran as Boston was in the midst of being assessed eight minors, receiving a minor and misconduct with Hal Gill and Mark Stuart already off.

"I'd say it again if I had the chance," Boynton said, though he declined to repeat the saucy language after the game. "We seemed to be killing all night. It was a joke to me."

Tellqvist and Tim Thomas staged a spirited goaltending duel that wasn't decided until the Leafs' Darcy Tucker scored on a slew of dekes in the shootout after Sundin was stopped.

"I talked to our coaches and they said he (Thomas) was coming out pretty far," Tucker said.

"I said I would deke, it was just a matter of which way."

He chose forehand, after a backhand move in a losing cause on Friday in Long Island.

Tellqvist, who could make a rare third consecutive start tomorrow in Buffalo with Ed Belfour out, stopped Brad Boyes and Patrice Bergeron.

"It showed a lot of character that we came back," Tellqvist said. "Even after they had four goals, you keep it in your mind that they aren't going to get any more."

Sundin is unimpressed by the new shootout format.

"It's a lottery. But we are working on it, after almost every practice. If you look over a whole year, we haven't had a lot and now two in the past (three games). But they could mean about 10 points over the year and that could end up a big difference in the standings. We'll take the extra point and get better at it."

This was one of the their supposed 'easy' games of the 18 remaining on the schedule. But the Leafs played catch-up all evening against a team that had dropped five straight and was three points back at the start of the night.

Throughout the game the Leafs were getting unsettling news on the out-of-town board, as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Isles both jumped into leads, though Ottawa came back and nipped Tampa, while the Isles continued crushing the Devils.

It was the fourth time this season Tellqvist faced the B's, making 29 regulation saves to Thomas's 28.

Sundin and Jason Allison had the other two Leaf goals.

Toronto must now prepare for the trip to HSBC Arena, where they are already 0-3.


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