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.
It wouldn't be a series of memories about a Maple Leaf that played for the team during the late 90s and early 00s without at least one Ottawa Senators related memory. This one came when I was still high school.
Four buddies and I managed to quickly form a group and with the help of the school's computers were bought five tickets for game one in Ottawa. When one dropped out we replaced him with another big Leafs fan: my dad. We made the drive down decked in blue and white, painted our faces and hair in the Corel Centre, and we end up on HNIC in one of those throws to commercial along with one other lost, really drunk, Leafs fan.
As for the game itself, it's mostly controlled by the Senators. They have by far the most scoring chances but luckily Cujo is in fine form and the Senators, as was their wont during those years, blew any number of chances. The game headed to overtime tied at zeroes and then...
It's Friday, April 13, 2001. It's overtime of game one of the first round, the score's 0-0, Leafs and Senators, a re-match of the spring before. Sundin's got the puck at the Ottawa blue line. Sundin fakes a slapshot. The camera moves. Sundin fires, for real this time. "PING!" Off the pipe and in. The Leafs win 1-0. The Leafs sweep the Senators 4-0. Of all the overtime goals Sundin scored as a Maple Leaf, I'm not sure there was a sweeter one than that.