Maple Leafs move to Eastern final

Archived from 1998-99 season.

1999 Playoffs

Toronto series


Maple Leafs

Gary Valk scored his first two career playoff goals and the Toronto Maple Leafs sent the Pittsburgh Penguins on vacation with a 4-3 overtime victory that won the Eastern Conference semifinal series for Toronto four games to two.

"There's such a fine line between winning and losing in overtime," Mats Sundin said. "When we get into overtime, we seem to find a way to win."

After a faceoff Sergei Berezin blasted a shot at Tom Barrasso who made the save, but couldn't control the rebound that was bouncing between his skates. Defenseman Jiri Slegr and Valk scrambled to the puck and while falling off his skates Valk managed to push the puck into the net for series-winning goal at 1:57 of overtime.

"When he is shooting, I'm trying to go to the net," Valk said. "Barrasso stepped on it and it came loose. I tried to crosscheck Slegr out of the way and the puck was just laying there. It was an ugly garbage goal."

Rob Brown and Alexei Kovalev gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead in the first period. Valk, Berezin and Lanny Bohonos took Toronto to a one-goal lead before Jaromir Jagr tied the game at 14:41 of the second period to extend Pittsburgh's hopes a while longer, but it wasn't enough.

This may have been the last NHL game in Pittsburgh, where a bankruptcy judge will decide the team's fate next month.

"This group at any point of the season could have latched onto a reason to not do well: the bankruptcy, the injuries we suffered, playing 13 different defensemen," coach Kevin Constantine said. "They refused to do that. They wanted to win a Stanley Cup badly. My disappointment is for them."

Toronto advances to the conference final, against either Buffalo or Boston. The Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup in 1967.

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