Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 1)

Columbus leads 1-0

Game 1: Thursday, March 20th
Maple Leafs3Final
Blue Jackets4

Maple Leafs 3

(39-26-3, 87 pts)

Blue Jackets 4

(26-37-3, 62 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 20, 2003

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 OT T
TOR 1 1 1 03
CBJ 0 3 0 14

T. Wright (Blue Jackets - C): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

M. Denis (Blue Jackets - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: .906

R. Nash (Blue Jackets - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Wright scores third goal with 43.8 seconds left

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Tyler Wright will never win a hockey skills competition, nor will he ever win style points for his grace on the ice. About all he does is get things done.

Wright scored his third goal of the game off a give-and-go from Ray Whitney with 43.8 seconds left in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on Thursday night.

"There's really nothing pretty to my game,'' Wright said after his third career hat trick and second of the season. "I just go to the net and shoot the puck.''

Wright, who hadn't scored in 18 games, has a career-high 18 goals this season. Rick Nash also scored for Columbus.

Mats Sundin, Owen Nolan and Aki Berg had goals for Toronto, which is 2-0-2-2 in its last six.

Much of the Maple Leafs' problems stemmed from their 13 penalties resulting in nine Columbus power plays.

"We had a two-goal lead tonight and we gave it up because of penalty situations. We can't continue to have that happen,'' Toronto coach Pat Quinn said.

Pressed on what he thought about the officiating, Quinn grew angry.

"All I can do is get myself in trouble if I answer the way I feel. I don't intend to pay a ... fine again,'' he said.

Wright carried the puck over the blue line until defenseman Robert Svehla confronted him. Wright dropped a pass for Whitney, who split two defenders and fed Wright who was swooping in from the left corner. Wright used his skate to steady the puck and then beat Trevor Kidd to the glove side inside the far post.

"How good was Tyler Wright?'' Columbus interim coach Doug MacLean said. "If Tyler wouldn't have scored a goal, he still would have had a great game. He battled and made tremendous plays.''

The Leafs forced overtime when Nolan tipped in Sundin's shot with 1:12 left in regulation. Nolan, acquired from San Jose on March 5, has scored six goals and has two assists in six games with the Leafs.

Toronto was making its first appearance ever in Columbus.

The Blue Jackets scored three times -- twice on power plays -- in the second period to take a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.

Berg's third goal at the 5:47 mark gave the Maple Leafs a 2-0 lead. No sooner had Berg's slap shot settled into the net than Columbus goaltender Marc Denis skated to mid-ice to protest to an official that he was interfered with by Toronto's Travis Green on the play. Replays appeared to show Green made contact with Denis as he skated across the crease, just as Berg was loading up for his shot.

"It was one of those games, lots of power plays, lots of scoring chances,'' said Denis, who had 29 saves. "We're two of the most penalized teams in the NHL, so you have to expect that type of game.''

Moments later, Denis checked Mikael Renberg on the back boards and received a rousing cheer. The hit seemed to galvanize the Blue Jackets.

Wright took advantage of a bad pass by Jyrki Lumme for an unassisted goal at the 9:53 mark then Columbus scored twice on power plays in the wild final 5 minutes of the period.

Bryan McCabe picked up a double-minor for a cross-check and unsportsmanlike conduct right after Nik Antropov was sent to the penalty box for roughing.

Given 56 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage, the Blue Jackets tied it on Nash's rebound off an assist from Geoff Sanderson.

Toronto's Sundin -- who earlier scored his 32nd goal -- was whistled for roughing and Wright notched his second goal of the night when he redirected Rostislav Klesla's shot from the right wing.

"The puck sort of followed me around,'' Wright said. "You have to take advantage of those nights.''

Five minutes in, Sundin skated in front of Sanderson's pass to Jaroslav Spacek and was all alone as he zeroed in on Denis.

Game notes

Wesley's assist on Sundin's short-handed goal was his second since being traded from Carolina on March 9 for a second-round draft pick. ... The teams are 1-1-1-0 in the season series. ... Nolan has a six-game points streak, all since coming to the Leafs.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press