Kovalchuk's OT goal lifts Devils over LeafsFeb 11, 2011 - 6:45 AM
Kovalchuk carried the puck into the zone himself, skating down the left boards and cutting across to the right circle before flipping a shot past Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer.
Dainius Zubrus tied the game in the third period and Johan Hedberg had 31 saves for the red-hot Devils, who improved to 5-0-1 on their point streak and moved to 11-1-2 in their last 14 games.
"We aren't looking too far ahead," Zubrus said. "Our goals are much smaller...Maybe that's why we're addressing each opponent and trying to win that game."
New Jersey head coach Jacques Lemaire, re-hired by the team almost two months ago, earned his 600th career win in the NHL.
Nikolai Kulemin scored Toronto's only goal in the second period.
Reimer stopped 24 shots through two scoreless periods and finished with 37 saves on 39 shots for the Maple Leafs, who lost for just the second time in their last six games.
Kulemin gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead 5:18 into the second period after the Devils turned the puck over in their own zone. Phil Kessel had a chance down low and was stuffed, but Kulemin raced through the slot to clean up the rebound for his 21st goal of the season.
Another turnover nearly cost the Devils later in the second period, but Toronto's Tyler Bozak hit the left post with a backhand after deking Hedberg out of the net.
Zubrus tied the game for New Jersey 3:23 into the third, deflecting Mark Fayne's shot from the point.
"It dipped a bit," Reimer said of Zubrus' deflection. "I thought I was right there. It was just a weird shot."
During one stretch later in the period, New Jersey's Mattias Tedenby was stoned in front by Reimer and Hedberg stopped Joffrey Lupul's close-range one-timer at the other end to keep the game tied.
Lupul was playing his first game for Toronto after being acquired Wednesday in a trade with Anaheim. The Leafs sent defenseman Francois Beauchemin to the Ducks for Lupul, defensive prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth- round pick in 2013.
Prior to Kovalchuk's game-winner, the best scoring chance in overtime came from Devils teammate Brian Rolston, who hit the crossbar about 1 1/2 minutes into the period on a wrister from the slot.
Toronto was 0-for-5 on the power play, while New Jersey went 0-for-4...Lemaire is 600-449 as an NHL head coach. He was hired for his third go-round with the team after the Devils fired rookie head coach John MacLean in December...The Maple Leafs had just one goal after scoring 10 combined in its previous two games -- both wins over the Thrashers and Islanders.
- NEW JERSEY: 2
Final - OT
Feb 10 9:42 PM
- New Jersey Goal - Ilya Kovalchuk, at 4:36.
Devils 2, Maple Leafs 1 OT - 0:24Feb 10 9:41 PM
- NEW JERSEY: 1
End of Regulation
Feb 10 9:34 PM
- Ilya Kovalchuk shot blocked by Keith Aulie.
Devils 1, Maple Leafs 1 3rd - 16:26Feb 10 9:04 PM
- NEW JERSEY: 0
End of 2nd
Feb 10 8:41 PM
- Phil Kessel wrist shot on Johan Hedberg.
Devils 0, Maple Leafs 1 2nd - 14:45Feb 10 8:11 PM
- NEW JERSEY: 0
End of 1st
Feb 10 7:46 PM
- NEW JERSEY: 0
1st Period - 20:00
Feb 10 7:07 PM
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