Even Toronto coach Ron Wilson admitted his team got a break.
Fourth-line forward Colton Orr broke a 1-1 tie 11:02 into the third period by scoring a goal after knocking over goaltender Scott Clemmensen as the Maple Leafs ended a three-game slide by beating the Florida Panthers 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Orr slammed into Clemmensen, then tipped Tim Brent's shot into the net for his second goal of the season. Clemmensen argued his case with the referees to no avail.
Panthers coach Pete DeBoer was livid after the game, and Wilson acknowledged that there should have been a call.
"Colton took the goalie out and there should have been a penalty ... but they didn't see it so you take what you can get," Wilson said. "The goalie stepped way out of the net and Colton was just trying to get to the front, but he kind of ran over him and I guess the puck must have hit his rear end or something and went in ... his foot ... but it was going in anyway, so whatever."
Added Orr: "I was trying not to make any contact. I was just trying to get out to the front."
Dennis Wideman scored the lone goal for the Panthers, who wound up with nothing to show for a determined effort.
"It's unfortunate," DeBoer said of the outcome. "You've got 40 guys battling hard on that ice on both teams. Games shouldn't be decided that way."
Orr was on the ice only because the Leafs had to juggle bodies after Colby Armstrong left in the first period with what the Leafs called an upper-body injury. He'll have an MRI on Wednesday.
"You have guys playing kind of all over the place," Brent said. "We dug in tonight and it was a huge win for us. It was hopefully something that gets us back on the winning track."
Bozak, who's acknowledged being frustrated with his lack of scoring, got his first of the season with 41.9 seconds left in the opening period, knocking in a loose puck after Nikolai Kulemin put it in front.
Wideman tied the game with a power-play goal at 14:27 of the second period, beating Giguere with a wrister from the point -- a play on which the Toronto goaltender felt he was bumped by Florida's Cory Stillman.
"I thought they should have called mine," said Giguere, who finished with 21 saves. "I'm sure they probably think that they should have called theirs. We're even."
Kessel scored on a breakaway with 2:24 remaining. He broke up a play at the Toronto blue line after the Panthers had controlled the puck in the Leafs' zone for well over a minute, broke in alone and beat Clemmensen for his seventh of the season.
"I'm feeling good," said Kessel. "The most important thing is we got the win tonight. That's a big win for us."
Despite the win, Wilson was far from happy with his team's play.
"We still didn't generate the offense I was hoping we would," he said. "We're overpassing the puck at times. There were some clear opportunities to shoot. But we found a way to win the game and played better defensively."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|PPG - Tyler Bozak (1) Snap shot - ASST: Nikolai Kulemin (5), Dion Phaneuf (4)|
1 - 0 TOR
|PPG - Dennis Wideman (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Bryan McCabe (6), Stephen Weiss (2)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Colton Orr (2) Tip-in - ASST: Tim Brent (1), Fredrik Sjostrom (1)|
2 - 1 TOR
|Phil Kessel (7) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE|
3 - 1 TOR
|Clarke MacArthur Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Dennis Wideman Holding against Kris Versteeg|
|Michael Zigomanis Hooking against Marty Reasoner|
|Tyler Bozak Tripping against Marty Reasoner|
|Michael Frolik Hooking against Phil Kessel|