Sundin's 500th blows teammates away

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

Mats Sundin has been impressing his teammates for years but last night he blew them away.

"Amazing," said Darcy Tucker, who had an excellent view of Sundin's shot in overtime as he sat in the penalty box. "The puck just jumped off his stick. I was out there when he scored his 400th goal and to see his 500th goal in overtime is special for everybody."

Sundin is revered in the Maple Leafs dressing room and his penchant for coming through in the clutch is a big reason. Sundin leads the National Hockey League in regular-season career overtime goals with 15, and has 36 game-winning goals since the start of the 2000-01 season, which also is an NHL best.

That Sundin's milestone goal also was his third of the night, and shorthanded no less, meant something more to those who wear the blue and white.

"The whole team was rooting for Mats to get his third, but we did not say anything (for fear of bad luck)," Kyle Wellwood said. "He's incredible. I'm sure every fan in the building was elated to be a part of it. He makes such an impact on everyone around him, so it's fitting that he could do that for us."

GREAT LEADER

One of Sundin's countrymen, second-year forward Alex Steen, relieved himself of a small monkey when he scored his first goal of the season at 17:38 of the second period. Steen won't remember the goal as anything special - he was prone in the crease of Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and the latter's glove was on Steen's stick - but he will remember that he was on the bench and watching when Sundin scored his 500th.

"I've never seen anybody shoot the puck that hard," Steen said. "He's one of the greatest leaders I have ever heard about. He does a lot of things in here that people outside the team just don't see. To score 500 goals in this league in unbelievable."

Tucker nearly became the goat when he was called for hooking on Daymond Langkow with 7.2 seconds remaining in regulation. The call was made by referee Justin St. Pierre, though it was marginal.

"It's one of those things where you get your stick close to anyone else's stick and they're going to call it," Tucker said. "I don't think I really did much, but unfortunately I got a penalty."


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