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game recap

Maple Leafs top Oilers 4-3 in OT

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

NHL.com

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Maple Leafs top Oilers 4-3 in OT
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Edmonton Oilers 3
Three Stars of the Game
Cody Franson
1st
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 2Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 21:04
Taylor Hall
2nd
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 18:49
Joffrey Lupul
3rd
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 2TOI: 20:54
Tim Connolly and the Toronto Maple Leafs both ended painful slumps on Wednesday night.

Connolly ended a 17-game dry spell when he scored 1:39 into overtime to give Toronto a 4-3 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Wednesday night, ending the Maple Leafs' losing streak at four games.

The Oilers overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to force overtime on Jordan Eberle's goal with 4:04 left in regulation and had a chance to win in the extra period when they came on a 3-on-1 break. But Dion Phaneuf raced back to pick Ryan Whitney's pocket and start a 3-on-1 the other way. Joffrey Lupul carried up the left side and put the puck on Connolly's stick for a tap-in.

"That was a huge win for us," said Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner, whose goal early in the third period put the Leafs ahead 3-2. "You don't lose four games in a row all that often and when you do it's not a great feeling. That fifth game means a lot and I'm happy we got it."

The win gives the Leafs 64 points, three more than ninth-place Washington in the scramble for playoff berths in the Eastern Conference, and a split of two games in Alberta -- they lost 5-1 at Calgary on Tuesday. Toronto has two days off before wrapping up a Western Canada trip Saturday in Vancouver.

"That last game was a tough one to swallow," Leafs defenseman Cody Franson said. "This was a big game for us as a result. It was kind of a must-have two points after the way our last four have gone. We battled hard to get the points tonight."

Edmonton had its four-game winning streak at Rexall Place snapped, though the Oilers did get a point in a game they trailed 2-0 before many of the 16,839 fans had found their seats.

"When we've got multiple lines going like we did tonight, we're a dangerous team," Eberle said. "We need that to happen more often."

The Leafs broke a 2-2 tie at 6:46 of the third period, 10 seconds into their second power play of the night. With Ryan Jones off for delay of game after flipping the puck into the crowd, Gardiner teed up a straightaway slapper from just inside the blue line and fired it through a screen past Nikolai Khabibulin for his third of the season.

But Eberle capped nearly a minute of pressure when he took a feed from Whitney, battled through David Steckel's check and stepped into the slot before wristing his 25th of the season over James Reimer's glove and just under the crossbar.

The Oilers got a power play with 2:06 left in regulation when Darryl Boyce was called for hooking Taylor Hall as Hall drove to the net, but were unable to capitalize.

"We had a slow start but came back hard and played a good game," said Oilers' forward Ben Eager, who scored Edmonton's first goal. We had our chances to win, but unfortunately couldn't convert."

With supporters in the full house at Rexall Place chanting "Go Leafs Go," Toronto needed just 40 seconds to make them happy by grabbing a 1-0 lead. Lupul grabbed a loose puck and wristed it past Khabibulin after the Oilers were unable to clear the zone.

It became 2-0 just 58 seconds later when Franson fired a long pass from his own zone that caught Matthew Lombardi in full flight during a bad change by the Edmonton defense. Lombardi raced in and wristed a shot past Khabibulin for his seventh of the season and a 2-0 lead for the Leafs just 1:38 into the game.

But before the Leafs could enjoy their two-goal margin, half of it disappeared. The Oilers forechecked hard, Lennart Petrell beat his man and centered a pass into the slot, where Eager ripped it past Reimer at 2:32.

Both teams had chances during the rest of the period, which ended with the Leafs up 2-1 on the scoreboard and 14-10 on the shot clock.
"The guys stabilized themselves, they settled down and tried to make it less of a track meet start -- minimize the damage," Oilers coach Ton Renney said. "I thought they did a good job of that."

But the second period belonged to the Oilers. Edmonton outshot Toronto 13-3 in the middle 20 minutes and tied the score at 8:15 when Hall raced past Nikolai Kulemin to the net and deflected Sam Gagner's pass behind Reimer for his 20th of the season. Ales Hemsky nearly put the Oilers ahead late in the period, but he rang the post on a breakaway after beating Franson.

Hemsky rang the post again 1:07 into the third period after clearly beating Reimer from the right circle. Reimer denied Hemsky again with 6:30 left after he danced past the defense and cut in from the left circle in search of the tying goal.

"They were coming at us full speed but we gathered ourselves together in the third period," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "I was happy that we got it to overtime.
"We did a lot of good things tonight and rebounded off of how we played in Calgary."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
scoring summary
1st Period
00:40
TOR
Joffrey Lupul (23) Snap shot - ASST: Phil Kessel (32), Keith Aulie (2)
1 - 0 TOR
01:38
TOR
Matthew Lombardi (7) Backhand shot - ASST: Cody Franson (13)
2 - 0 TOR
02:32
EDM
Ben Eager (7) Snap shot - ASST: Lennart Petrell (4)
2 - 1 TOR
2nd Period
08:15
EDM
Taylor Hall (20) Tip-in - ASST: Sam Gagner (24), Andy Sutton (7)
2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
06:46
TOR
PPG - Jake Gardiner (3) Slapshot - ASST: Clarke MacArthur (14), Cody Franson (14)
3 - 2 TOR
15:56
EDM
Jordan Eberle (25) Snap shot - ASST: Ryan Whitney (8)
3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
01:39
TOR
Tim Connolly (8) Tip-in - ASST: Joffrey Lupul (38)
4 - 3 TOR
penalty summary
1st Period
04:49
TOR
Mike Brown  Fighting (maj) against  Ben Eager
04:49
EDM
Ben Eager  Fighting (maj) against  Mike Brown
15:58
EDM
Magnus Paajarvi  Interference on goalkeeper against  James Reimer
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
06:36
EDM
Ryan Jones  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
10:06
EDM
Andy Sutton  Tripping against  Clarke MacArthur
11:08
TOR
Joffrey Lupul  Hooking against  Ryan Whitney
17:54
TOR
Darryl Boyce  Hooking against  Taylor Hall
OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
James Reimer
SA: 32TOI: 61:23
Saves: 29EV: 28 - 31
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 1
SV%: .906SH: 0 - 0
Nikolai Khabibulin
SA: 26TOI: 61:39
Saves: 22EV: 18 - 21
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 5
SV%: .846SH: 0 - 0