Boom Goes The Dynamite
For the next two days, we're running 13 of our top memories of Mats Sundin as a Maple Leaf. There are more to choose from but Sundin captaining Sweden to Gold in 2006 and his years as a Nordique won't make an appearance on the list. For help, I enlisted Mats Sundin's biggest fan Eyebleaf to help come up with and number the list. It's far from exhaustive and your mileage may vary on our choices but these were the 13 that came immediately into our minds so consider it a small token of our appreciation for one of the greatest Leafs of all-time.
Before, during, and after the 2004-2005 NHL lockout, John Ferguson Jr. misjudged any number of changes. Part of that was no doubt due to his inability to sell the MLSE board on his plan to rebuild the Maple Leafs through divesting themselves of a number of veteran players and putting a renewed emphasis on youth and player development. The other part was that he was an awful General Manager.
He did have one major thing going in his favour: Mats Sundin. And in the midst of the run to eighth place, Sundin had his best regular season game ever to keep the Leafs in a race in which they'd ultimately fall two points short.
The Leafs woke up on April 11, 2006 in 10th place. They were chasing the Tampa Bay Lightning for the final spot. The Florida Panthers came to the ACC on April 11, 2006 which was a Tuesday. As you can imagine, a Southeast Division team mid-week looked to be the death knell for the Maple Leafs except that Mats Sundin was having none of that laying around stuff. Over to Eyebleaf:
In April 2006, with his team battling for a playoff spot, Sundin notched a six-point night - four goals and two assists - in a 6-5 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers. The game was, again, a microcosm of Sundin's career. He did it all, with little help, and the Leafs always ended up a little short.