Originally created 04/30/01

Maple Leafs full of surprises for Devils



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are full of surprises for the New Jersey Devils.

After winning Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal to show the defending Stanley Cup champions that their revamped lineup is made for the playoffs, the Maple Leafs had an even bigger surprise for New Jersey in a 6-5 overtime loss in Game 2 on Saturday night.

They showed they can compete even when goaltender Curtis Joseph isn't at his best.

"We know how tough this series is going to be," Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said looking to Game 3 in the best-of-seven series on Tuesday night in Toronto. "Both teams aren't going to give an inch. The Leafs showed us they are never going to quit or ever give up, and I hope we learn from that."

The surprise was the offense the Leafs generated, especially after falling behind by three goals twice, the second time early in the third period when Alexander Mogilny capped a five-point night with his second goal of the game.

However, the Leafs scored three times in the final 14:01 of regulation. Steve Thomas forced the overtime with 23 seconds left in regulation with his second goal of the period and third of the series.

Randy McKay, who was on the ice for four of Toronto's five goals, by scored at 5:31 of overtime off a nice feed from Bobby Holik on a 2-on-1 break. That was all that prevented New Jersey from heading north down 2-0 in the series.

"It would have been nice to be 2-0 coming out of their building," Thomas said after Toronto lost for the first time in six playoff games. "We understand that this is the Stanley Cup champion from last year. To take at least one game out of their building is pretty good."

After winning their first three playoff games against Carolina, the Devils have hit a bit of a postseason slump. They lost Games 4 and 5 against the Hurricanes before closing out the first-round series with a good performance in Game 6.

In this series, the Maple Leafs outplayed them in posting a 2-0 win Thursday night, and they almost stole Game 2 after falling behind by margins of 4-1 and 5-2.

"I'm not concerned about anything," Devils captain Scott Stevens said. "We got the win. It doesn't matter how you win. We're tied 1-1 and that's the way I'm going to look at it. I'm not going to break anything down or dissect anything. We have to go on to the next game."

While impressed with Toronto's rally, Stevens felt that was a byproduct of the Devils' play.

"Yeah, they came back, but I don't think we did a very good job through the neutral zone," Stevens said.

The Maple Leafs can take a lot out of the first two games in New Jersey. Unlike last year when the Devils beat them in six games in the same round, the Leafs didn't get pushed around this time. They answered hit for hit, played sound defense for five of six periods and even responded when the red light went on behind Joseph five times, including four times in the second period when New Jersey momentarily took control.

"We didn't play as well as we have in the playoffs in that second period," Joseph said. "We reverted to an undisciplined style. No need to panic though. We know we can play well. We got one game here heading back to our place and that's what we wanted."

Game 4 will be played in Toronto on Thursday and the series shifts back to New Jersey for Game 5 on Saturday night.