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The Countdown: Top-5 Mats Sundin Moments

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Photo credit:Canadian Press
Shane Seney
3 months ago
With the Toronto Maple Leafs making their way to Sweden for the NHL’s Global Series, it’s only right this week’s Countdown features the greatest Maple Leaf of all time, who also happens to be one of if not the greatest Swedish hockey player of all time, Mats Sundin.
Sundin was it all for the Maple Leafs for 13 seasons, which seems fitting. He poured his heart and soul into the franchise and was one a trailblazer for European players becoming leaders in NHL dressing rooms. Sundin led by example, he played every shift the right way and he did absolutely everything he could to take the Leafs as far as possible throughout his tenure.
Sundin finished his Maple Leafs career with 981 games played, ranking first in both goals with 420 and points with 987. While there are countless to choose from as Sundin brought Leafs Nation joy for over a decade, here’s our top-5 Sundin moments:

5. Sundin GWG vs Oilers for 1000th point

March 2003, the Maple Leafs were in Edmonton to take on the Oilers, and Sundin once again decided he was going to put the team on his back and carry them to victory. He played most of the game alongside Alex Mogilny and Alexei Ponikarovsky. Sundin’s 31st goal of the season turned out to be the game winner, as the Maple Leafs would hold onto a 3-2 lead as Sundin became the first Swedish born player to hit 1000 NHL points:

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4. Team Sweden Wins 2006 Olympic Gold Medal

Sundin captained Team Sweden at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy and led the blue and yellow all the way to a gold-medal victory over the rival Fins. The Swedish team was stacked. Along with Sundin, the team consisted of the likes of Daniel Alfredsson, Peter Forsberg, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, and a pair of young Sedin twins. Sundin would record eight points in eight games and while he never won the Stanley Cup in Toronto, winning gold representing his country is something nobody can take away from him.

3. Move Over Darryl Sittler

In an 8-1 drumming of the New York Islanders, Sundin recorded his 390th goal and his 917th point to move past Darryl Sittler in both categories in the Leafs’ record books. In true Sundin fashion, he was actually credited with an assist during the second period, however decided to inform the ref during a break that he didn’t touch the puck. Later in the game the hockey gods would take care of the rest as an attempted backhand pass coming in on the rush ends up bouncing off the Islanders defenseman’s skate and into the back of the net. Just like that, Sundin cemented himself in the Maple Leafs record books.

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2. Game 1 OT Winner vs Senators, 2001 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Bring back the slap shot! Sundin had one of the best clappers in the league and he loved to get it off whenever he could. He also was clutch as hell and regularly led the NHL in OT winners throughout his career. During an epic Game 1 Battle of Ontario, it was 0-0 and halfway through the first overtime when the Leafs captain managed to use a hesitation tactic and beat Sens goalie Patrick Lalime for the OT winner. Peep how he even threw off the cameraman with the pump fake.

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1. 500th Goal vs the Calgary Flames

While it was early on during the 2006-07 regular season, Sundin’s performance against the Flames was historic. He entered the game on 497 goals, and put on an absolute show for Leafs Nation. Sundin would bury his first of the night on a one-timer in the first period, his second was a snap shot off the rush, and then he saved the best for last. Goal #500, another absolute rocket of a slap shot, to win the game in overtime and finish off the hat trick.

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Sundin became the first Swede to score 500 goals and so far, no other Swede has eclipsed the mark. There’s no doubt the Maple Leafs great will be making an appearance at the Global Series in some capacity and rightfully so. Sundin is the greatest Leaf of all time, he’s the greatest Swedish hockey player of all time and he deserves all the recognition in the world.

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