Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Goal in Ot Enables Leafs to Knot Series Gartner Lifts Toronto to a Seventh Game

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Goal in Ot Enables Leafs to Knot Series Gartner Lifts Toronto to a Seventh Game

Article excerpt

Mike Gartner has scored 652 regular-season and playoff goals in a 15-year NHL career that has him headed for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The 652nd has no equal, Gartner said after helping the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in overtime Thursday night.

"It's the biggest one so far," Gartner said in the Maple Leafs' dressing room shortly after his goal at 8 minutes 53 seconds of overtime provided a season-saving victory.

Gartner's shot from the side of the San Jose net, on a pass from Doug Gilmour, forced a seventh game Saturday night in the Western Conference semifinal series. The winner will meet Vancouver in the conference final beginning Monday night.

The Eastern Conference finals open Sunday night with the New York Rangers hosting the New Jersey Devils.

"I went to the side of the net and Dougie made a great play behind the net to get me the puck," Gartner said. "I slid a shot into the crease and it hit (goaltender Arturs) Irbe's skate and went in. It couldn't be called a pretty goal, but it looked pretty from my angle."

A capacity crowd of 15,700 at Maple Leaf Gardens celebrated the hard-fought triumph. "My shirt is soaked in sweat from the armpits to my belt," Maple Leafs coach Pat Burns said. "Yes, it was a draining experience. But we hung tough and finally got one."

Wendel Clark scored Toronto's other two goals. …

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