Maple Leafs blow big lead, but beat Blues in SO
Thursday, January 6, 2011
TORONTO (AP) — Tyler Bozak scored the shootout winner for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who bounced back from blowing a three-goal lead and beat the St. Louis Blues 6-5 on Thursday night.
Bozak beat Ty Conklin with a wrist shot in the shootout, but that didn’t compare to the move by teammate Mikhail Grabovski, who made a 360 while cutting across the top of the crease and tucked the puck into the net. Kris Versteeg also scored in the tiebreaker for Toronto.
The Maple Leafs seemed to be in control when Phil Kessel’s second goal of the game 1:15 into the third period made it 5-2.
But the Blues clawed back with a strange goal by Brad Winchester that was confirmed by video review. Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson was pushed into the net along with the puck.
Eric Brewer’s point shot found an opening at 7:40 to make it 5-4, and Matt D’Agostini completed the comeback at 13:21 when he was sent in alone and scored with a backhand deke.
Grabovski, Versteeg and Colby Armstrong also scored in regulation for the Maple Leafs, who will start a four-game road trip in Atlanta on Friday night.
Alex Steen and David Backes had the other goals for St. Louis.
Gustavsson, who had lost five of six starts, watched as third-string goalie James Reimer earned back-to-back starts this week in place of the injured Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Gustavsson’s biggest play of the night was covering a loose puck with his blocker late in the second period when it was unclear if Jay McClement’s shot crossed the goal line. The save helped Toronto maintain its two-goal lead.
Jaroslav Halak started in goal for St. Louis, but was pulled for only the second time this season after surrendering four goals on 19 shots.
He wasn’t helped much by his defense that appeared vulnerable to Toronto’s forechecking during the second period. Clarke MacArthur worked the puck out to Grabovski for his goal at 8:19 before Armstrong took a hit while setting up Versteeg at 10:46.
Halak’s night ended after Kessel intercepted a pass and came in alone, beating the goalie with a wrist shot at 12:15.
Toronto needed just 15 seconds to take a 1-0 lead. The puck was sent into the Blues zone after the opening faceoff, and Versteeg’s shot deflected off Armstrong and over Halak.
Steen, a former Maple Leafs player, quickly responded at 3:52. He beat Gustavsson with a low shot from the side of the net.
A turnover gave St. Louis the lead before the end of the period. D’Agostini stole the puck and got off a shot before Backes whacked in the rebound at 9:46.
NOTES: D Brett Lebda replaced Carl Gunnarsson in the Toronto lineup. ... Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo both played their first game in Toronto since being traded by the Maple Leafs to the Blues in November 2008. ... It was the 3,000th home game in Maple Leafs history.
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