Hockey

Sundin focused on playoffs, not record

Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin is on the verge of becoming the club's all-time leading scorer, but he's more concerned with helping Toronto make the playoffs.

Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin is on the verge of becoming the club's all-time leading scorer, but he's more concerned with helping Toronto make the playoffs.

Sundin can equal Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler's franchise record for career goals Friday night when the Maple Leafs visit the Washington Capitals in search of their third straight win.

The Swedish forward, who spent his first four seasons with the Quebec Nordiques before he was traded to Toronto in June 1994, has racked up 388 goals in 895 games over 12 seasons for the Leafs. He has 523 regular season goals in total.

Sundin scored in Toronto's 3-2 win over Tampa Bay Tuesday, leaving him one goal shy of Sittler, who played for the Leafs from 1970-82.

But records don't matter to Sundin — making the playoffs does.

"I stopped counting goals a little while ago," Sundin said. "When you're 36, you look at the wins. You want to be one of those top eight teams to get a chance to compete for the championship.

"But it's a big part of my job I know that. I'm paid to be productive."

Leafs still in hunt

Tuesday's win against the Lightning moved the ninth-place Leafs to within one point of the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders, who hold down the final two playoff berths in the Eastern Conference.

With just 12 games left in the season and seven teams locked in a bitter battle for eighth place in the East — seven points separate seventh-place Carolina and thirteenth-place Florida — the Leafs can ill afford a loss to Washington.

If Toronto hopes to grab one of those final playoff spots, it'll need more inspired play from Sundin, who on Tuesdayscored his first goal in seven games on a splendid solo effort late in the second period to tie it 2-2, then set up Nik Antropov's decisive goal early in the third.

"We're in a position right now where we have no choice, it's going to be a race for us right down to the last game," Sundin said.

Toronto is still without all-star defenceman Tomas Kaberle, but the Czech Republic blue-liner accompanied the team to Washington and is expected to take the team's Friday morning skate.

When he'll return to the lineup, though, remains a mystery.

"I know I'm not playing tomorrow," Kaberle said of Friday's game against the Capitals.

The Leafs defenceman hasn't played since sustaining a serious concussion March 2 against New Jersey after a hit from Cam Janssen.

The Leafs visit the Montreal Canadiens Saturday (CBC, 7 p.m. ET).

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