Kessel’s goal lifts Leafs over Blues
Originally published November 10, 2011 at 11:39 p.m., updated November 11, 2011 at 12:20 a.m.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — When Toronto's top goalie James Reimer went down with an injury, the Maple Leafs looked for someone to step in and pick up the slack.
Ben Scrivens was ready, willing and able Thursday night.
Scrivens, making his third NHL start, thwarted the St. Louis Blues on three shootout attempts and stopped 37 shots through overtime to help the Maple Leafs snap a two-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Blues.
"It's a double-edged sword," Scrivens said. "They don't know much about me. Also, I don't know much about them. So I just tried to get out there and stay big and try and track the puck and force them to beat me with a good move or a good shot."
Phil Kessel scored the only goal in the shootout. John-Michael Liles and Kessel scored first-period, power-play goals, and Tyler Bozak added a pair of assists.
"A win's a win," Liles said. "It's good to get back to winning ways. It's a tough team over there. They battled hard and (Scrivens) played well for us down the stretch."
Scrivens, recalled from Toronto of the AHL on Oct. 27, came up time and time again when the Leafs were pinned in their zone.
"I was in kind of desperation mode," Scrivens said.
Jason Arnott and Patrik Berglund scored for St. Louis, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 20 shots.
Toronto outshot the Blues 14-8 in the first period, but St. Louis turned that around and had a 32-8 edge the rest of the way. The Blues just had trouble getting pucks past Scrivens.
"I thought we did a good job of funneling pucks to the net," Blues winger Alex Steen said. "We just missed our opportunities. I had one, (Berglund) had a really good one. It ended up costing us the game."
The Leafs took advantage of some undisciplined penalties by the Blues in the first period, scoring on two of three power plays.
Liles scored from the right circle 11:27 into the game, taking a pass from Dion Phaneuf and beating Halak on the stick side.
Kessel netted his NHL-leading 12th goal of the season, deflecting Joffrey Lupul's shot over Halak with 2:58 left in the first on Toronto's third power play.
"We did a lot of play with our eyes and not our legs," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "You can't kill penalties if you just play with your eyes."
The Blues turned the tide in the second period, outshooting Toronto 14-5 and cutting the lead in half when Arnott netted his fourth of the season on the power play at 8:01. Arnott took a pass from Alex Pietrangelo and sent a shot from the slot past Scrivens.
Scrivens had a shaky start in which he allowed quality rebounds, but he improved as the game went on. He made key stops on Alex Steen early in the third and David Backes midway through the period to preserve Toronto's 2-1 lead.
"Yeah, (Scrivens) played really well," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "Obviously, we needed that to get us at least one point, and then we eventually won in the shootout."
The Blues, who kept pushing in the third period, tied it when Berglund hammered in Chris Stewart's shot with 1:56 left. They got some solid scoring chances in overtime, but Scrivens was up to the challenge each time.
"Good two periods, but I think we should have had the two points," Steen said. "The truth is, we walked away with one. Now we move forward."
NOTES: Kessel, who leads the league with 23 points, has at least one point in 13 of 16 games. ... Arnott has 16 goals and 34 points in 39 games against Toronto. ... Lupul has seven points in five games. ... Maple Leafs C Phillippe Dupuis played in his 100th NHL game. ... Wilson and Hitchcock have coached a combined 2,396 NHL games. Wilson is the active leader at 1,353, and Hitchcock is sixth at 1,043. Wilson is first on the wins list among active coaches with 629. Hitchcock is fifth with 534.
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