Maple Leafs
5 - 6 Final - 2OT
  for this game

Leafs blow lead, recover to nip Blues in SO

Jan 7, 2011 - 7:23 AM
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Tyler Bozak netted the game-winning goal in the shootout, as the Toronto Maple Leafs blew a three-goal lead but rebounded to nip the St. Louis Blues, 6-5, at Air Canada Centre.

Phil Kessel scored twice for the Maple Leafs, who halted a four-game home skid. Colby Armstrong, Mikhail Grabovski and Kris Versteeg also scored in the victory while Jonas Gustavsson ended with 39 saves for Toronto.

Matt D'Agostini capped a three-goal rally which eventually sent the game beyond regulation for the Blues, who have now dropped two straight on the heels of a five-game win streak. Alex Steen, David Backes and Eric Brewer were among the goal scorers in the loss.

Jaroslav Halak started between the pipes, but was pulled after he yielded four goals on 19 shots. Ty Conklin made 11 saves in relief but suffered the loss.

Trailing by three goals in the third period, the Blues did not give up.

After Brad Winchester's sixth goal at 6:02 of the third made it 5-3, the Blues closed their deficit to one only 1:38 later when Brewer's blazing slap shot from atop the left circle sailed through traffic and past Gustavsson.

With 6:39 to go in regulation, D'Agostini's breakaway goal secured the comeback. A blocked shot in the Blues defensive zone led to D'Agostini going in all alone before his deke to the backhanded lit the lamp for a 5-5 tie.

After a scoreless overtime, the contest was again extended into a fourth shootout round. Bozak was successful in the first portion before Gustavsson stopped Patrik Berglund and the Leafs celebrated on home ice.

Only 15 seconds into the game, the Maple Leafs opened the scoring. Versteeg skated behind the net with the puck and eventually released a wrist shot from inside the right circle. The disc deflected off the chest of Armstrong -- who was not looking at Versteeg when the shot was taken -- and caromed in.

Strong forechecking by Backes along the right half-wall led to Steen's 14th goal for a 1-1 tie less than four minutes later. Steen gained the loose puck, moved into the near circle and lit the lamp with a wrister at 3:52.

Backes was again at the forefront of the action when the Blues took a 2-1 lead midway through the opening stanza. A shot from the low slot by D'Agostini was saved, but Backes was in position for the rebound tally at the 9:46 mark.

The second period belonged to the Leafs, who scored three times in under four minutes.

First, at 9:19 of the second stanza, Toronto tied it up. Clarke MacArthur, from along the right rear boards, passed to Grabovski and he beat Halak with a laser wrist from the inner rim of the right circle for his 16th goal of the season.

Less than two minutes later, the Leafs moved ahead 3-2 on Versteeg's tally. A shot from the right point was saved, but a scramble in front ensued and Versteeg jammed it into the back of the cage from in close at 10:46.

The three-goal spurt was capped by Kessel with 7:45 to go when his wrist shot from the slot beat Halak.

Toronto moved ahead by three goals 1:51 into the final stanza. Kessel received a long outlet in the neutral zone along the right half-wall, sped ahead on a partial breakaway and scored with a wrist shot from the low circle.

"We got really sloppy in the back end," Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said. "We were allowing them to get in the middle of the rink...At least we found a way to get it to overtime and the shootout and get another point."

Game Notes

This marked the first loss by the Blues in Toronto in the club's last nine games here. The last Leafs' home win over St. Louis was on February 4, 1998...The Leafs wasted a two-man advantage for a full minute in the second period...Jay McClement had two assists for the Blues...Neither team scored on only three total power-play chances.