Maple Leafs outlast Senators in triple-overtime marathon

Roberts buries gamewinner to tie up conference semifinal series

Posted: Sunday, May 05, 2002

TORONTO -- Gary Roberts was still kicking himself for missing on a 2-on-1 break when another scoring opportunity presented itself.

This one he buried, 4:30 into the third overtime, giving Toronto a 3-2 victory over Ottawa on Saturday night to end the third longest game in Maple Leafs history.

With the teams playing 4-on-4, Roberts got to a loose puck off a faceoff in the Ottawa zone and fired a wrist shot between goalie Patrick Lalime's pads to tie the Eastern Conference semifinal series 1-1.

Roberts admitted he couldn't remember much of his goal. What he couldn't forget was his chance three minutes earlier.

''I was going to take the blame for that,'' said Roberts, discouraged because it led directly to a Marian Hossa breakaway the other way.

Fortunately, Curtis Joseph made the save.

Joseph silenced his critics, stopping 54 shots. Travis Green and Darcy Tucker also scored for the Maple Leafs, coming off a discouraging 5-0 series-opening loss.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is at Ottawa on Monday.

Sami Salo and Mike Fisher scored for the Senators, who fell short after rallying back from a 2-0 deficit.

''We showed a lot of good things tonight being down 2-0,'' said Lalime, who stopped 39 shots. ''Our goal was to come here and get one. We sure did that so I think there is a lot of positives. We'll go right back at it on Monday.''

The three goals were the most Lalime's given up in a game this postseason, in which he has already tied a record with four shutouts. Before Saturday, Lalime had stopped 162 of 164 shots he faced, including 27 in Thursday's series-opening 5-0 win.

Green's goal 4:46 into the game ended Lalime's shutout streak at 128 minutes, 16 seconds.

''It was too bad Lalime was on the losing end,'' said Wade Redden. ''It was a tough way to lose. We came back with two goals. We had our chances but we couldn't put them away.''

The game was well short of the Toronto franchise record of 164 minutes, 46 seconds set in a 1-0 victory over Boston in 1933. It was by far the longest game in Senators playoff history, eclipsing the previous mark of 90:35 set in a 3-2 loss to Buffalo on April 23, 1999.

It was also the longest game in the NHL since a Stanley Cup final game between Dallas and New Jersey went 106:21 on June 8, 2000.

The longest overtime game in playoff history went 176 minutes, 30 seconds as Detroit beat the Montreal Maroons 1-0 on March 24-25, 1936.

''In those type of games you go finish your shift, go to the bench and get your air, regroup and go back out there,'' said Roberts. ''In those games, mentally you get tired and that's when you make mistakes.''

Both teams showed plenty of stamina in trading scoring opportunities down the stretch.

Ottawa's Chris Neil, on a wraparound, had put the puck in the net 8:54 into the second overtime, but it was immediately disallowed because the goal posts had been dislodged.

Two minutes later, Tucker hit a shot off the post, the second one the Maple Leafs rang off the iron in the game.

The win gives the Maple Leafs a huge mental boost.

''We have to build on it,'' coach Pat Quinn said. ''We didn't like our first game very much. Tonight we were a little better, but not as good as we'd like to be or need to be.''

Red Wings 3, Blues 2

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings wasted little time taking control of the game -- and their playoff series with the St. Louis Blues.

Steve Yzerman scored on the first shot of the game and Dominik Hasek made 35 saves as Detroit beat the Blues to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.

The Red Wings have won six straight games since losing the first two games of the playoffs to Vancouver.

In their 2-0 win in Game 1 against St. Louis, they scored on their second shot and managed to score even quicker in Game 2.

Game 3 is Tuesday night in St. Louis.

Detroit's free agents scorers -- Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille -- put the Red Wings ahead 3-0 midway through the second.

Hasek followed up his shutout on Thursday by stopping the 24 shots over the first two periods before allowing Scott Mellanby's goal 47 seconds into the third.

Mellanby scored again with 39.1 seconds left, after St. Louis pulled goalie Brent Johnson, but the Blues couldn't tie the game in the final seconds.

Johnson made 28 saves.

Avalanche 8, Sharks 2

DENVER -- A little rest and the return of Rob Blake made all the difference for the Colorado Avalanche.

Blake scored twice and Colorado tied a team record for goals in a playoff game as the Avalanche breezed past the San Jose Sharks to even the best-of-seven series at 1.

It was the most goals San Jose allowed in a road playoff game and one short of franchise record for any playoff game.

Colorado tied a record set on June 6, 1996, when the Avalanche beat Florida 8-1 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Colorado had just one day of rest after a physical seven-game series with Los Angeles before Game 1 and San Jose took advantage with 6-3 victory.

But the Stanley Cup champions had a little more jump in their step for Game 2 and were far more aggressive after getting two days' rest.

The Avalanche swarmed San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov even before Blake opened the scoring 8:54 into the game, then broke it open with four goals in the second period.

Game 3 is Monday at San Jose.

Colorado goalie Patrick Roy stopped 29 shots after allowing five goals in Game 1. The Avalanche have outscored their opponents 39-7 in the seven games following those in which Roy allowed five or more goals.

Blake, who missed Game 1 with a leg injury, scored his first goal on a one-timer over Nabokov's left shoulder after Stephane Yelle fished a puck from between three players in the corner.

Blake made it 2-0 1:38 into the second, working a give-and-go with Alex Tanguay during a 4-on-4 situation.

Blake carried the puck into the Sharks' zone, faked a slap shot and dropped it to Tanguay. Nabokov came out to challenge Tanguay, but he faked the shot and sent it back to Blake, who was left with an open net.

Blake, a Norris Trophy finalist, had not scored in the playoffs despite leading Colorado with 29 shots during the first round. He came out of the game midway through the second as a precaution.

Peter Forsberg made it 3-0 at 8:36 of the second on a nifty move behind the net.

Forsberg took a pass from Steven Reinprecht in the right corner, then faked to the left. Nabokov turned his head and slid to that side, but Forsberg went around the right and slipped in a wraparound just before Nabokov got his skate over.

Joe Sakic made it 4-0 1:05 later on a power play goal that was disputed by the Sharks.

Sakic's wrist shot from the slot went in off the left post, but it bounced so quickly off the television camera inside the net that the officials didn't see it go in. The two teams played for 47 seconds before Colorado asked for a review at the next stoppage of play.

Replays showed the puck clearly went into the goal -- the camera shook after it was hit -- but the Sharks argued for several minutes after the officials allowed it.

Greg de Vries, Milan Hejduk, Eric Messier and Dan Hinote also scored for Colorado.

Nabokov allowed eight goals on 28 shots and was pulled after Hinote's goal with 7:49 left in the game.

Patrick Marleau and Stephane Matteau scored for San Jose.

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