Hagman rescues Leafs in OT
Niklas Hagman scored on the power play three minutes into overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs recovered from a late game-tying goal to beat the struggling New York Rangers 3-2 on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.
With Blair Betts off for hooking, Hagman got a piece of Pavel Kubina's shot from the left point and the puck trickled past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
New York's Michal Rozsival sent the game into OT with a power-play goal with 40 seconds remaining after drawing a holding the stick call on Toronto's Dominic Moore.
The Leafs' John Mitchell and Ian White, and the Rangers' Scott Gomez scored within 2:24 to start the scoring early in the third period.
Kubina and Lee Stempniak assisted on all three Toronto goals.
Vesa Toskala, who made 32 saves in a 1-0 shootout loss the last time the teams met at MSG, sparkled again with 39 saves on Sunday for Toronto (22-26-12).
Lundqvist turned aside 23 shots as fading New York (31-23-7) lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
The Rangers are just 21-21-6 since their stellar month of October, and have fallen to sixth place in the Eastern Conference. With the Blueshirts just two points ahead of ninth-place Carolina and five up on 10th-place Pittsburgh, rumour has is that head coach Tom Renney's job may be in jeopardy.
"We played hard," Renney said. "We outshot this team significantly, we made a couple of mistakes that are in our game right now that we're going to continue to try to rectify.
"We are going to keep playing hard and we're going to stay the course and go after wins."
The Leafs are 11th in the East, but with a wide chasm separating them from the Penguins, aren't a serious post-season contender.
Rangers greats honoured
When these teams last met at the Garden, back on Oct. 17, they played 65 minutes of scoreless hockey before the Rangers prevailed in the shootout. Sunday's contest looked like more of the same through the first two periods until the sides exploded for a three-goal flurry early in the third.
Mitchell got it started four minutes into the final period, stopping Kubina's low delivery from the point and shovelling the puck around a sprawling Lundqvist.
Two minutes later, Gomez found a seam up the middle of the ice, took Brandon Dubinsky's pass near the Toronto blue-line and eluded Toskala with a backhand along the ice.
White waited all of 25 seconds to restore the Leafs' lead, walking in from the point untouched and beating Lundqvist from just a few feet away.
After Moore was sent off for jostling with Rozsival, and Renney pulled Lundqvist for an extra attacker, Rozsival one-timed a rebound from the hashmarks to tie it at 2-2.
"It is frustrating," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "You get close and then the other team ties it. You're looking at overtime and I'm just dreading getting into a shootout."
Rozsival was wearing No. 33 for the first time because his old digit, 3, was retired before the game in honour of Harry Howell. Fellow Rangers great and hall of famer Andy Bathgate also had his No. 9 raised to the rafters.