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Sundin nets emotional win

MATS Sundin got a standing ovation and a victory in his return to Toronto, notching the shootout winner to seal the Vancouver Canucks' 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs on Saturday.

The Maple Leafs' long-time captain and all-time leading scorer rifled a backhand into the top corner past Vesa Toskala to earn the surging Canucks their eighth win in nine games and cap an emotional visit to the city he called home for 13 seasons.

The goal provided a fitting conclusion to a moving night for Sundin, whose appearance was met with both jeers and cheers.

When Sundin first stepped on the Air Canada Center ice he was welcomed with a chorus of boos, but a montage of the big Swede's greatest Toronto moments shown on the big screen during a break in the opening period received a standing ovation.

"You dream about getting chances like that, to be the deciding shooter, have the breakaway at the end of game or an overtime goal," Sundin told reporters.

"I was probably crying a little bit, 13 years in this city with a team that had a lot of ups and downs, there were a lot of emotions.

"I thought they really showed me respect. It was amazing."

Sundin's long-standing love affair with Toronto sports fans hit the rocks last year when the rebuilding Leafs attempted to deal their captain at the trade deadline in return for what would have been an attractive package of draft picks and prospects.

However, Sundin scuppered any deals when he refused to waive his no-trade clause, then drew the wrath of some fans who were left feeling betrayed when he decided not to return to Toronto and signed with the Canucks.

Elsewhere in the NHL, it was: Penguins 5, Flyers 4; Blackhawks 3, Stars 1; Canadiens 5, Senators 3; Sharks 3, Thrashers 1; Coyotes 6, Kings 3; Sabres 4, Rangers 2; Panthers 2, Bruins 0; Ducks 5, Blue Jackets 2; Islanders 4, Devils 0; Wild 5, Red Wings 2; Predators 1, Blues 0 (in OT); and Flames 3, Oilers 2 (in SO).


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