Toronto Maple Leafs Alexei Ponikarovsky congratulates goalie Andrew Raycroft after the Leafs defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 4-2 in NHL action in Toronto, Canada Monday. (C/Adrian Wyld)
Darcy Tucker scored twice and Tomas Kaberle once - all with the man advantage - during an 86-second stretch in the first period Monday to help the Leafs to a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.
Jeff O'Neill also scored and Andrew Raycroft made 31 saves in goal for Toronto (6-4-3), which won a second straight game. It was Raycroft's first win in 10 days and will go a long way to erasing the memory of the 12 goals he allowed in five periods against Ottawa last week.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Brad Larsen replied for the Thrashers (8-2-3).
Toronto was lucky it caught Atlanta on a rare off night. The Maple Leafs directed just 10 shots at Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen after the first period.
The Leafs entered the game with the league's 22nd-ranked power play but broke out in a big way.
After Kovalchuk gave the Thrashers a 1-0 lead, the Leafs responded quickly thanks to three successive power plays.
Sundin found Tucker at the side of the goal for the team's signature back-door play on the first one at 9:18 of the first period and Kaberle got his fourth goal in two games when he beat Lehtonen through the legs with a slapshot less than a minute later.
Tucker then scored his second of the night when he poked a trickling puck into an empty goal to make it 3-1. It marked the first time all season the Leafs had scored three goals with a man advantage in a game.
The lead lasted through the a dull second period, which must have left the Leafs wondering if the real Atlanta Thrashers were going to show up. Atlanta, after all, came in having lost only once in regulation and was fresh off a shootout victory Saturday over the Buffalo Sabres to stop their record-tying win streak at 10 games.
But the Thrashers, playing the final game of a five-game road trip, didn't seem to have their legs. Normally dangerous winger Marian Hossa was pretty much invisible except when his team had a man advantage.
O'Neill gave the Leafs some breathing room by scoring at 16:05 before Larsen added a short-handed goal a little over a minute later.
Notes: Attendance was 19,285 at Air Canada Centre - another sellout . . . The Leafs won all four games against Atlanta last season, outscoring them 22-3 . . . Sundin's three assists in the first period tied a Toronto record. Tucker was the last to do it in October 2002 in a 6-0 win over Pittsburgh . . . Kovalchuk is 1-for-12 in NHL shootout attempts, a conversion rate of 8.3 per cent. Entering this season, his career shooting percentage in games was 14.5 per cent.