Leafs blow big lead but beat Blues in shootout
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:06 AM
's shootout move was so spectacular that it was easy to forget the Toronto Maple Leafs
never should have let the game get that far,
Grabovski brought the 19,283 fans at the Air Canada Centre to their feet with a complete spin-o-rama while cutting across the top of the crease before beating St. Louis goaltender Ty Conklin in the second round of the tiebreaker. The Leafs also got shootout goals by Kris Versteeg and Tyler Bozak
to beat the Blues 6-5 in a game that saw them blow a three-goal lead in the third period..
Grabovski is 3-for-5 lifetime in the tiebreaker and has a variety of moves --he scored on a 180-degree spin play last month in Washington.
"Again, he's crazy," center Tim Brent said. "He's unbelievable. That'll be highlight of the night I'm sure and it should be. I've never seen it, he hasn't done it in practice and it takes a lot of guts to do that stuff. He's a pretty skilled guy."
Added Bozak, who got the actual winner in the shootout with a more mundane wrist shot: "I'm way too nervous to do stuff like that in a shootout."
Lost in the hoopla surrounding Grabovski’s goal was the fact that the Leafs led 5-2 after Phil Kessel
scored 75 seconds into the third period – and couldn’t close out the Blues in regulation.
Brad Winchester cut the deficit to two goals when he scored at 6:02 – a goal that survived a video review -- before Eric Brewer beat Jonas Gustavsson
from the point at 7:40. Matt D’Agostini then scored on a breakaway at 13:21, beating Gustavsson with a backhand deke.
In the end, though, two points was two points for the Leafs, who start a four-game trip on Friday in Atlanta.
"It was important for us to get a win today, but we need to be better," Kessel said. "We had a 5-2 lead and we didn't play well there. We need to bear down more and get our game in shape."
gave the Leafs a quick lead by scoring 15 seconds into the game, but the Blues led 2-1 by the middle of the period on goals by Alex Steen
and David Backes
However, the second period belonged to the Leafs. Grabovski, Versteeg and Kessel scored in a 3:56 span midway through the period to put Toronto up by two. Jaroslav Halak
was lifted after Kessel’s goal, Toronto’s fourth on just 19 shots.
"(It was) just a pause for the team mostly," Blues coach Davis Payne said of the goalie change. "It's a situation there where we can give Conklin a chance to see if he can't
stop the tide and give our a guys a chance to regroup their thoughts."
The rally earned the Blues a much-needed point, assuring them of remaining in the top eight in the frantic Western Conference playoff race.
The Leafs had something to smile about as they headed for Atlanta and the start of their trip.
"I think it would have been a little bit quieter and not much going on," said Bozak. "It's obviously nice to get that win. ... We feel good about that."
Material from wire services was used in this report