Series (Game 3 of 4)

Toronto leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 10th
Maple Leafs6Final
Game 2: Monday, October 14th
Maple Leafs4
Game 3: Tuesday, December 10th
Maple Leafs4
Game 4: Thursday, January 9th
Maple Leafs4Final

Penguins 2

(11-10-3, 28 pts)

Maple Leafs 4

(14-12-0, 30 pts)

Coverage: TSN

7:30 PM ET, December 10, 2002

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
PIT 0 1 12
TOR 1 1 24

M. Sundin (Maple Leafs - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Lemieux (Penguins - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

B. McCabe (Maple Leafs - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Lemieux scores 51st point in 26th game

TORONTO (AP) -- Pittsburgh's latest loss was a costly one.

Mats Sundin's second goal of the game broke a third-period tie as the Toronto Maple Leafs handed the Penguins their season-high fifth straight loss, 4-2 Tuesday night.

Mats Sundin

The Penguins lost forward Aleksey Morozov, who broke his right wrist when he was checked into the boards by Toronto's Ric Jackman in the first period.

"It's frustrating when you lose five in a row. Now Morozov has a broken wrist. It seems like all our key guys are getting hurt,'' Mario Lemieux said.

The Penguins are already missing defenseman Dick Tarnstrom (broken foot) and forward Martin Straka (bruised ankle). Tarnstrom and Morozov each have 25 points, the third most on the team.

Sundin scored on Toronto's first shot of the game, and later gave the Maple Leafs the lead for good with his 14th goal with 6:05 left in the third.

Jonas Hoglund and Paul Healey also scored for the resurgent Maple Leafs, who have won 10 of 13 games to move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference

"It's a game that puts us in a playoff spot and we knew that coming it,'' Toronto's Tom Fitzgerald said. "We've crawled out of the hole. It's a special win.''

Lemieux recorded his league-leading 50th and 51st points in his 26th game this season. It is the fastest an NHL player reached 50 points since 1995-96 when he did it in 18 games and teammate Jaromir Jagr did it in 24.

Down 2-0 in the second period, Lemieux made a pass up the middle to a streaking Alexei Kovalev, who beat Toronto goalie Ed Belfour on a breakaway with a backhanded shot at 17:46 of the second.

Lemieux then tied it on the power play 10:16 into the third when he scored off his own rebound. Kovalev's shot from the point rebounded off Belfour's pads to Lemieux, who put in his 14th goal.

"It's not that we weren't playing well. When we got that power-play goal I thought we were on our way,'' Lemieux said.

A pass by Toronto's Alexander Mogilny deflected off a Pittsburgh defenseman's stick to a streaking Sundin, who scored with a backhanded shot.

Healey added an empty-net goal with 35 seconds left.

A Pittsburgh defenseman checked Sundin to the ice -- behind the net -- just as Sundin shot the puck off Jean-Sebastien Aubin's skate and in at 9:02 of the first.

After Pittsburgh rookie Ross Lupaschuk, playing his first NHL game, turned the puck over behind the net, Robert Reichel made a quick pass to Hoglund, whose one-timer beat Aubin at 12:53 of the second.

Aubin made 19 saves, including several impressive stops.

Belfour improved to 5-0 in his last five appearances.

Game notes

The Penguins are also missing Dan LaCouture (concussion), Shean Donovan (broken foot), defensemen Josef Melichar (dislocated shoulder) and Michal Rozsival (separated shoulder). ... Toronto's Shayne Corson missed the game after reinjuring his groin on Saturday. ... Pittsburgh won a season-high four straight from Nov. 22-29 before the losing streak. ... Lupaschuk was acquired from Washington in the Jagr deal. ... Lemieux extended his point streak to 10 games. ... The rest of the Penguins' road trip is on the West Coast, with games at San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Phoenix. ... Toronto has won seven straight at home, while Pittsburgh has won just two of nine on the road.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press