Hagman’s heroics lift Maple Leafs over Rangers

NEW YORK (Ticker) — Niklas Hagman netted the game-winner
exactly three minutes into overtime Sunday night, lifting the
Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory over the slumping New York

John Mitchell and blue-liner Ian White also scored and Vesa
Toskala made 39 saves for the Maple Leafs, who ended a
three-game losing streak.

Lee Stempniak and defenseman Pavel Kubina collected three
assists apiece for Toronto, which will host the Rangers on

“It was nice. Too bad, we didn’t get the job done in the 60
minutes,” Kubina said. “We gave up the goal, but we got it done
in overtime and it was a big two points for us. I thought that
we played a great road game.”

Scott Gomez and defenseman Michal Rozsival tallied and All-Star
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 shots for New York, which has lost
10 of its last 12 contests (2-7-3).

“One mistake, one bad shift, one bad pass could cost us a game,”
Lundqvist said.

“It doesn’t matter the score. It is the wins you go after.
When you are not winning, it is tough. It is tough mentally.
You work so hard to get the two points because we need it. It
is really tough when you don’t get the result you are looking

Rangers coach Tom Renney liked the effort, just not the result
on Sunday.

“I thought we played hard,” he 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.

“The only thing drastic is to go outside of what our needs are
right now. We are going to keep playing hard and we’re going to
stay the course and go after wins.”

After Blair Betts was whistled for hooking in the extra session,
Kubina blasted a slap shot that Hagman deflected between the
pads of Lundqvist.

“(Kubina) shoots it so hard,” Hagman said. “The first two, I
was just making sure that I’ll try to be in front of him. I
didn’t have the speed in my hands to put the stick over there.
The third one, that was a perfect shot.”

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“There was a lot more movement on that 4-on-3,” Toronto coach
Ron Wilson said. “Haggie (Hagman) did a great job of getting to
the net and it was a good shot from the point.”

The Rangers did pick up a point – thanks to Roszival, who
surrendered his No. 3 jersey to Harry Howell during a ceremony
before the game. Andy Bathgate (No. 9) was also honored.

With an extra attacker on the ice, Rozsival – wearing No. 33 –
collected a loose puck in the slot with a scramble happening in
front of the net and fired a wrist shot past Toskala with 40
ticks left in regulation.

“It was an important goal and obviously an important point,”
Renney said. “The fact that we got ourselves into that bind and
got ourselves out of is something to look at and build upon.

“It’s pretty clear the team is not quitting. I think that’s
pretty important.

Just 25 seconds after Gomez tied the contest at 1-1, White took
a pass from Kubina at the right point and skated into the slot
unchallenged before firing a wrist shot past a screened
Lundqvist at 6:18 of the third period.

Mitchell opened the scoring at 3:54 of the final session,
accepting a pass from Kubina at the edge of the crease and
chipping a quick shot over a sprawling Lundqvist.

Gomez answered less than two minutes later. Streaking into the
zone, Gomez took a pass from Brandon Dubinsky, skated around a
defender and fired a backhander past Toskala at 5:53.

“It was a tough loss,” Rangers captain Chris Drury said.
“Toskala was playing well. We couldn’t get anything by him. A
couple of mistakes and we lost in OT.

“We just have to keep working hard, keep showing up and
hopefully we’ll get 35-plus shots a night. We are going to start
getting some wins.”