Leafs robbed by masked man

Oakville native John Tavares (left) congratulates Islanders teammate Matt Moulson after Moulson...

Oakville native John Tavares (left) congratulates Islanders teammate Matt Moulson after Moulson scored a second-period goal last night at the ACC. (Stan Behal/Sun Media)

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Phil Kessel didn't know what to say.

But the winger seemed to say that about as many times as Dwayne Roloson stopped his Maple Leafs, an amazing 58 of 61 shots last night in a 4-3 overtime win by the New York Islanders.

It was a costly game in many respects for the Leafs, a lost point, halting their weekend momentum, a blow to their psyche after coming back from a 3-0 deficit, while two players suffered injuries. The 4-11-7 Leafs remain last in the NHL.

The worst off is John Mitchell, who will undergo an MRI today for a knee injury suffered when he tried to hit New York's Kyle Okposo. During a spurt of three goals in 3:13 by the Isles, Vesa Toskala tweaked his groin and was replaced by Jonas Gustavsson. Joey MacDonald will be summoned from the Marlies this morning.

The players were hoping that a second win in 72 hours, the club's first back-to-backs in almost a year, might give GM Brian Burke pause for thought as he contemplates trades and call-ups.

But the 40-year-old Roloson had other plans. The 61 Toronto shots tied the modern-day team record from an 8-0 win over Detroit in February of 1976.

"I don't know what to say," Kessel chanted after getting his sixth goal to start the three-goal comeback in the second period. "Sixty shots...it was unbelievable and still we don't win (the Isles were held to 20 shots). We have to bury the chances.

"We had a little lapse for five minutes and it cost us."

Coach Ron Wilson had seen Roloson play some great games while both were in the Western Conference, but this took the cake.

MISSED SHOTS

"We missed the net a lot of times and I'll bet we had 100 shots altogether," Wilson said. "I just don't want our team to get frustrated. Phil thinks he can score when he has the puck, but a lot of our guys just hope to do it."

After Wayne Primeau and Niklas Hagman tied it in the third, Toronto came up empty on the last of its six power plays. Then a screw-up in the corner during a breakout led to Josh Bailey's overtime winner in the last minute.

"We tried to chip it out and we weren't on the same page," defenceman Ian White said.

White took a few peeks at the shot clock as it rose towards 60.

"When we got near 40, we figured some had to start going in," he said.

The Leafs were worried about 19-year-old first round pick John Tavares causing them the most grief last night -- not old Roli the Goalie.

Jeff Tambelli, Matt Moulson and Sean Bergenheim (short-handed) helped knock Toskala out, with two of the goals to his weak glove hand. Toskala looked ready to repeat Saturday's shootout heroics, stopping Richard Park on a short-handed breakaway and Okposo as he exited the penalty box.

Primeau was getting some extra time because Mitchell left late in the first period, a quick promotion from the crash line with Jamal Mayers and Colton Orr.

Roloson, who came in with a 1-6 regular-season record against Toronto, will be most remembered at the ACC for Game 1 of the 1999 Eastern Conference final when he parachuted in at the last second for an injured Dominik Hasek. He helped Buffalo to a 5-4 win that gave it momentum for a five-game series win.

Tavares was not a factor in the first period -- except for getting flattened in the Leafs' crease -- and was forced wide in the third on his only good rush.

LANCE.HORNBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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