Heading into the Maple Leafs sixth game of the 06/07 season,fans were probably expecting a good game of hockey, but nothing more. The Leafs were 2-1-2 to start off the season. Andrew Raycroft had taken the role of starting goalie, and he was a former Calder winner, so what could be bad about that? Over the summer The Leafs locked up Gill, McCabe, and Kubina to multi-year deals, and signed a hot new rookie, Jiri Tlustly. They also had Mats Sundin as their Captain for the 10th year in a row.
The reliable Sundin was nearing a major milestone for the Maple Leafs: 500 goals. Coming into the game he had 497. It wasn't unreasonable to assume he would hit 500 a few games later on the road vs Columbus, or when they returned home vs. the Rangers.
Sundin, however, was never one to disappoint a crowd.
Goal #498: Power Play
Calgary's Jerome Iginla and Alex Tanguay both take hooking penalties at the same time. The Maple Leafs have a two man advantage. The Leafs have the puck in their own end and McCabe fakes a shot, and drills a pass to Sundin who is open just below the face off dot to Kipruisoff's right. Sundin wrists it off the post and into the net.
The Calgary Flames started the period down two goals but roared back to score three straight to take the lead. Alex Steen scores his first of the season from Matt Stajan and Chad Kilger and ties the game.
Goal #499: Even Strength
Nearing the end of the second period Darcy Tucker takes the puck into the Flames end. He drops the puck back to Sundin who shoots from the top of the left face off circle to score top shelf on Kiprusoff. Two goals. One away from a hat trick. one away from 500.
Toronto native Mark Giordano also scored two goals that night, in the second period. A special night in front of friends and family. about halfway through the third period iginla took the puck from new Leafs blueliner Hal Gill and passed it up to Daymond Langkow for Calgary to tie the game. Darcy Tucker would be called for hooking with 8 seconds left in the period. The Maple Leafs would start overtime short handed.
Goal #500: Shorthanded
In overtime Alex Tanguay would have the puck on the boards in the Leafs end. Mats Sundin gets the puck loose and skates off with it. Rather than dump it down the ice, no icing as they are shorthanded, Sundin skates in along the boards and fires a slap shot from just past the blueline. It beats Kiprusoff and that's the game. 500 goals for Mats Sundin. 500 goals and he got there with 3 different ones.
It's fitting Mats Sundin would hit 500 goals in overtime. He still holds the team record for overtime goals with 15, one of the 7 scoring records Sundin holds for the Maple Leafs.
Mats Sundin has been immortalized on Legends Row by the Maple Leafs. He's had his number 13 honoured by the team as well. He's won gold medals with Sweden at the World Championships and the Olympics. He's one of the most loved figures in Maple Leafs history, and it's no wonder, judging by how he sets his records.