Maple Leafs stay in hunt

The Maple Leafs mob teammate Bryan McCabe (right) after he scored the overtime winner against the...

The Maple Leafs mob teammate Bryan McCabe (right) after he scored the overtime winner against the Flyers on Tuesday. (Sun Media/Stan Behal)

BILL LANKHOF -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:09 PM ET

The Maple Leafs found hope for another 48 hours in what has become Survival NHL.

And, Bryan McCabe found retribution. The Leafs beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on an overtime goal from McCabe last night.

That shook off the demons of an earlier play that led to Philly's tying goal, not to mention the goat horns where folks were hanging those five goals he was on the ice for in New York on Sunday.

"Good for Bryan. He and Hal (Gill) came up to the bench (in overtime) and they were the ones saying, 'We're going to be all right. It's going to be all right,' " coach Paul Maurice said.

It's a good thing for the Leafs that on this night he was as good a shot as he was a prophet. The win, coupled with Montreal's victory over Boston, maintained the status quo in the standings. Toronto still sits one point out of a playoff spot behind the eighth-place Habs going into Long Island tomorrow night.

If they were expecting immunity from the pressure of the playoff race, they never got it from the upset-minded Flyers.

Maurice figured it might get difficult.

"We don't take Philly lightly. They're disciplined ... good positionally. They don't have a lot of high-end talent but they've got hard workers."

The Leafs needed earlier goals from Ian White and Gill to overcome a first-star performance from goalie Martin Biron.

But, first the good news: McCabe's goal came at 2:18 on some dizzying passing with Jeff Carter in the penalty box. McCabe took the feed at the point, moved in and blasted a shot behind Biron.

That came after Biron had already robbed Kyle Wellwood from the edge of the crease.

And, it came after an emotional rally by the Flyers in the third had resulted in Mike York's tying goal with less than five minutes to play.

"I could've been the goat. On their second goal I tried to bat the puck out of the air," McCabe said. "It went off a couple skates and the next thing you know it was in our net. I felt a bit of shame after that. So, it was nice to get some retribution."

Not to mention salvation. A loss would've been crushing to any playoff hopes.

Even with a 13-5 edge in shots, the Leafs had nothing on the scoreboard after 20 minutes.

It really was that kind of night.

In the second, they tried to get traffic in front of Biron, but he was solid.

Toronto's near-misses were many.

There was Alex Steen blowing a shot over the net that Brion won't see until he checks the video; John Pohl breaking in alone but Biron kicked his shot away; Darcy Tucker flubbing a shot off the toe of his stick.

Sundin, who has gone goal less in 10 games, had one go off the outside of the post.

"Of course it's bugging me. (Scoring) is a big part of my game," said Sundin, now goalless in 10 games.

Ryan Potulny actually put Philly up 1-0 just 1:25 into the second, stunning the crowd.

"When you face a game like (last night) sometimes there's nerves,'' Sundin said. "Guys put a lot of pressure on themselves. It would've been easy to panic but we found a way to win."

White and Gill scored on shots from the blue line midway through the second.

With a 24-13 edge in shots, Toronto looked cooled out for its eighth consecutive win at home.

Instead, they got a dose of anxiety and McCabe went from feeling foolish to being a hero in under 10 minutes.

"There's a lot of critics in this town," he said. "I don't listen to them or read them. Whatever is said, is said. All I care about is that things worked out."

REPORT CARD

C + Forwards: Generated a lot of pressure on Flyers goalie Marty Biron, especially in the third period, but continue to have problems finishing at times.

B - Defence: While defencemen Hal Gill and Ian White scored for Toronto, the Leafs defence had problems controlling Philly's big forwards in front of Andrew Raycroft.

B - Goaltending: Raycroft made some nice stops when Leafs were two men short midway through the third period.


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