Tampa Bay at Toronto

Maple Leafs beat Lightning in Sundin's return to action

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

TORONTO -- Mats Sundin exceeded his own expectations after missing a month.

Sundin had a goal and an assist in his first game since sustaining a serious eye injury, and the Maple Leafs held on for a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

"I was a little worried before the game about how it was going to go, but it went better than I thought," Sundin said.

Sundin fractured his left orbital bone when he was struck in the face by a puck in the season opener against Ottawa on Oct. 5. He returned to practice Wednesday, and wore a visor against Tampa Bay.

"It feels all right. You have to constantly wipe off the water, but it's something you have to get used to," Sundin said. "I'm going to have to wear it for the next three weeks, and hopefully I can keep it on for the remainder of the year."

The Toronto captain helped Jeff O'Neill end an eight-game goal drought by assisting on the first goal. Sundin then gave Toronto a 3-1 lead in the second period.

"He was huge right from the start," rookie Alexander Steen said.

Steen, Darcy Tucker, and Chad Kilger also scored for the Maple Leafs, who were outscored 23-16 in losing four of their previous six games.

Dan Boyle and Vincent Lecavalier scored third-period goals for the Lightning, who lost their third straight. Tampa Bay almost rallied to tie it with two goals in the third, but received three penalties in the final minutes.

"We had them on the run. We absolutely just blew ourselves up," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said

Toronto goalie Ed Belfour made 33 saves.

Sundin received a loud ovation in the pregame introductions.

O'Neill scored midway through the first after converting Sundin's pass from behind the net.

Toronto took a 2-0 lead with 28 seconds left in the period after Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis received a double minor for high-sticking and drawing blood from Tucker, who shrugged off the cut and scored his sixth goal.

Evgeny Artyukhin cut it to 2-1 with his first goal of his NHL career by converting a pass from behind the net. Artyukhin got the puck from one of the officials.

But Toronto took scored twice in the period. Sundin, sliding on one knee, scored from the side of the net after receiving a pass from O'Neill, and Steen had an unassisted goal after a Tampa Bay turnover.

Boyle cut it 4-2 with a power-play goal just 52 seconds into the third, and Lecavalier tipped Dave Andreychuk pass on the power play past Belfour at 9:01.

Kilger scored into an empty net with three seconds left.


  • Cam Neely, who will be inducted into Hall of Fame on Monday, was honored before the game. Neely spent 10 years in Boston, scoring 50 or more goals three times.
  • Sundin sat out 12 straight games since being struck in the eye seven minutes into the season opener. He missed only 23 games due to injury in his first 10 years with Toronto.
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Mats Sundin is enjoying his goal after returning from an eye injury sustained in the season opener. (AP)
Mats Sundin is enjoying his goal after returning from an eye injury sustained in the season opener. (AP)
Tampa Bay (7-6-2)0123
Toronto  (7-5-2) «2215
Three Stars
D. Boyle

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
J. O'Neill

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
E. Belfour

Saves: 33
Save Pct.: .917

Related Video

Scoring Summary
10:40Power Play - Jeff O'Neill (5), Wrist Shot - Assists: Mats Sundin and Bryan McCabe
19:32Power Play - Darcy Tucker (6), Slap Shot - Assist: Eric Lindros
03:52Evgeny Artyukhin, Snap Shot - Assists: Nick Tarnasky and Dan Boyle
13:17Mats Sundin, Snap Shot - Assists: Jeff O'Neill and Ken Klee
17:14Alexander Steen (6), Wrist Shot - Unassisted.
00:54Power Play - Dan Boyle (4), Snap Shot - Assists: Vaclav Prospal and Vincent Lecavalier
09:01Power Play - Vincent Lecavalier (10), Snap Shot - Assists: Dave Andreychuk and Brad Richards
19:57Chad Kilger, Empty Net - Unassisted.
Penalty Summary
01:59Khavanov: High sticking - 2 min.
04:47Lindros: Delaying Game - 2 min.
10:23Sarich: Interference - 2 min.
15:44St. Louis: High sticking - 4 min.
04:19Ponikarovsky: Hooking - 2 min.
11:13St. Louis: High sticking - 2 min.
19:09Kilger: High sticking - 2 min.
04:43Lindros: Holding - 2 min.
08:09Allison: Hooking - 2 min.
08:40Belfour: Slashing - 2 min.
12:40Lecavalier: Hooking - 2 min.
14:03Sydor: High sticking - 2 min.
16:47Sydor: High sticking - 4 min.
19:32Kaberle: Interference - 2 min.
Tampa Bay12717 36
Toronto10610 26
Attendance - 19290
Game Time - 60:00
Referees - Rob Shick, Kelly Sutherland
Line Judges - Derek Nansen, Lyle Seitz
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