MONTREAL (TICKER) —The Toronto Maple Leafs have made a habit of rallying all season. Their getting pretty adept at winning on the road as well.
Nik Antropov’s tally with 2:22 left highlighted a three-goal, third-period rally as the Maple Leafs tied a franchise record with their seventh straight road victory, a 5-3 triumph over the rival Montreal Canadiens.
Toronto posted its league-best seventh victory when trailing after two periods, getting third-period goals from Tie Domi, Antropov and Gary Roberts. Antropov’s decisive tally was his sixth game-winner of the season and second against Montreal.
After Domi knotted the contest with 5:27 left, Antropov beat Montreal goaltender Jose Theodore over the right shoulder from the bottom of the left faceoff circle with a snap shot.
“It makes me so happy that the last two games in this city including tonight, I got the game-winner,” Antropov said. “I know that Theodore always goes down. I waited and then I took my shot.”
Toronto’s seven straight road wins tie the mark set by the 1940-41 team and matched by the 1960-61 squad. Overall, the Maple Leafs have won five straight and 10 of 11.
“It may not be a very important statistic and it’s certainly not part of the game but we are very proud of that franchise record on the road,” Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. “You don’t want to forget about things like that. You don’t think about it while the game is on but it is a terrific moment for our team.”
“That franchise record shows that we dominate teams on the road,” Maple Leafs goaltender Trevor Kidd said. “We play with confidence even though we are away from home. We talked about this in the room this morning. And as a team it is very important to us.”
Toronto also improved to 31-12-2-1 since a 4-9-2 start.
Montreal, which scored all three of its goals in a 7 1/2-minute span of the second period, is winless in its last five home games against Toronto (0-1-3-1).
The Canadiens, who have lost three straight and four of five overall, have not won a game this season when trailing after two periods - going 0-20-0 in such contests.
“We can’t afford to blow games like this, especially at this time of the year,” Montreal defenseman Stephane Quintal said. “We had a lead and we should have won. We made too many mistakes. We made Trevor Kidd look good.”
“We thought we had the game in the bag,” Montreal center Saku Koivu said. “We embarrassed ourselves. We didn’t play a tough game. I was responsible for two of their goals.”
After a scoreless first period in which the teams combined for just 12 shots, Toronto broke on top 1-0 when Alexander Mogilny converted the rebound of Mats Sundin’s slap shot into his 24th goal of the season.
Mogilny, who finished with a goal and two assists, has 64 points in 55 games this season after recording just 57 in 66 games in 2001-02.
The game remained 1-0 when Montreal finally got its offense in gear just over eight minutes into the second period. Richard Zednik beat Kidd with a snap shot for his 25th goal of the season and Joe Juneau made it 2-1 with sixth goal of the season but third this month.
Chad Kilger beat Kidd with a slap shot from the lower left circle with 4:35 to go in the second. Kilger’s seventh goal of the season marked the first time Montreal had scored three times in a period since December 6 at Colorado.
Sundin capitalized on a defensive lapse by Montreal’s Andrei Markov to get the Maple Leafs within 3-2 with 2:41 to go in the second. Stationed in front and unchecked by Markov, Sundin stuffed the puck between the pads of Theodore for his 28th goal.
Sundin, who had a goal and an assist, has 14 points in his last 11 games and 995 points in 985 games.
Domi knotted the contest 14:33 into the third period. Bryan McCabe fired the puck off the back boards and Robert Reichel slipped a blind pass in front to Domi, who jammed it past Theodore for his 13th goal.
After Antropov made it 4-3, Roberts scored into an empty net for his third goal in two games.
“We came out with a mission in the third period,” Quinn said. “We played a sloppy game for the first 40 minutes. We gave Montreal lots of room. (Trevor Kidd) is a poor guy. I means he’s rich as far as money is concerned but we owed him something and we had to win the game for him.”
Montreal went 0-for-3 on the power play and is just 1-for-26 with the man advantage over its last eight games.
“That’s a bad way to lose a game,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “We played only 40 minutes. Toronto’s a good team. We made errors and the Maple Leafs found a way to win.
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