Leafs stayin' alive

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

TORONTO -- It's tough to think the Maple Leafs can turn into New Jersey Devils fans, given the outrage they harboured when Cam Janssen cheap-shotted Tomas Kaberle last month.

But that will be the case this afternoon, thanks to a wild 6-5 Toronto victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens last night.

The Leafs now hope the New York Islanders lose to the Devils this afternoon. Should that happen, the Leafs would earn a date with the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Leafs managed to keep their playoff hopes alive last night despite a sub-par performance from goalie Andrew Raycroft.

Raycroft was yanked midway through the second period after allowing four goals and was replaced by backup J-S Aubin.

To their credit, the Leafs came out with some real urgency, taking a 1-0 lead on a Bates Battaglia goal and outshooting the Habs 20-2 in the first 10 minutes.

But a bad Pavel Kubina giveaway allowed Christopher Higgins to tie the game at 1-1 at 12:15 of the opening frame.

Nik Antropov restored the Toronto lead at 16:09 on a tip-in. When Alex Steen widened the gap to 3-1 in Toronto's favour 72 seconds into the second period, the momentum appeared to be in Toronto's favour.

Not for long, though.

Just 36 seconds after Steen's tally, Michael Ryder came down the left wing and unleashed a floater that Raycroft waved at and missed, opening the floodgates for the Habs comeback.

In the next 13:19, Ryder would finish off his natural hat trick followed by a second goal from Higgins, completing a shocking turnaround that saw the Habs go from a 3-1 deficit to a 5-3 lead.

With just 2:14 remaining in the second, a Colaiacovo point shot bounced off a Habs defender and found its way into the net, narrowing the Montreal advantage to 5-4.

Then, just as the horn sounded to end the period, the Habs Steve Begin took a stupid double minor when he inexplicably cross-checked Kyle Wellwood in the face.

With Begin in the box, McCabe snapped a shot past Huet into the top corner to tie the game at 5-5 just 58 seconds into the third.

The Leafs would regain the lead at 3:43 when Wellwood deflected a Kaberle shot.


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