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Leafs' Carlyle wins in return to Anaheim

Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 1:57 AM

ANAHEIM -- The sight was familiar: Randy Carlyle behind the bench at Honda Center with his team burying chances in front of stellar goaltending.

It wasn't quite a page from the 2007 Stanley Cup season, but Carlyle certainly approved.

Jonathan Bernier made 43 saves, Phil Kessel scored his 34th goal and Tyler Bozak had a goal and an assist to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. The win gave Carlyle a happy homecoming in his first visit to Anaheim since he was fired in 2011.

"There's satisfaction when you beat your former hockey club," Carlyle said. "I'm not going to hide that fact. I feel good about it. But, again, now our focus is not what we did tonight. Our focus is what we have tomorrow [at the San Jose Sharks] and we've got a real tough game."

Carlyle was recognized in a video tribute by the 17,229 fans – many of whom wore Toronto jerseys – and he gave a wave in the building he called home for seven years and where he helped raise that 2007 Cup banner.

"It was kind of touching," Carlyle said. "I didn't know really what to expect. I'm very appreciative and thankful for the people that supported me in my time here … as I said, we'll move back to the area at some point in our life."

The Maple Leafs opened an important three-game California trip by improving to 14-3-3 in their past 20 games. Bernier was excellent and made glove saves on Bryan Allen in the first period and Patrick Maroon in the second. He made 34 saves in the final 40 minutes. Toronto blocked 24 shots.

"That was our main focus coming here," Bernier, a former Los Angeles King, said of the California swing. "We know it's a tough building. Well, tomorrow and L.A. [on Thursday] as well. They're all tough buildings. But we proved to ourselves that we can compete against any team in this League."

Bozak said he sensed an extra satisfaction from his coach after the harrowing final two periods ended and Carlyle could exhale as he headed to the dressing room.

"I think he was pretty excited," Bozak said. "I think he might have been a little more nervous for this one than the other ones. But we're happy we can get one for him."

The Ducks, already bumped out of the top spot in the Western Conference by the St. Louis Blues, had their five-game point streak snapped and now have the San Jose Sharks on their heels for first place in the Pacific Division. Anaheim fell into a 2-0 deficit for the second time in three games, and its power play got good looks but is in a 1-for-19 slump since the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Ben Lovejoy said they haven't lost track of the standings.

"We are very aware," Lovejoy said. "We know exactly where we stand. We do need to play better. Our goal is to be No. 1 in the entire NHL. Tonight, we didn't play like a team with that goal."

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau had joked that his top line didn't fare well against Toronto's in the Oct. 22 game between the teams. But he opted to still use Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry primarily against Bozak, Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, who combined for two goals and five assists.

Perry energized Anaheim with a long, MVP-worthy shift -- one of his nine shifts in the second period -- to break the shutout. Perry's line hemmed Toronto in its zone and played keep-away until Maroon's rebound found Perry for a tap-in goal, his 35th, at 14:19. Perry had eight shots on goal and his effort couldn't nearly overcome the bad start.

Anaheim's defense was uncharacteristically shoddy for the opening 30 minutes, and a breakdown led to a 3-0 lead for Toronto when Paul Ranger finished a 2-on-1 with Kessel at 3:44.

"I was surprised [at the defensive breakdowns] because we went over everything, on exactly their quick-strike ability," Boudreau said. "Everything that they do, we went over, and then we still make the same mistakes that we've been making lately."

Kessel gave Toronto a 2-0 lead at first intermission. He split Francois Beauchemin and Hampus Lindholm to break in on goalie Frederik Andersen, and his shot fluttered in at 19:21. The play started when the Maple Leafs poked the puck away from Getzlaf.

Toronto snapped an eight-game drought on the power play (0-for-18) in the first period on Bozak's 15th goal at 16:31. Bozak chipped in Dion Phaneuf's pass from the slot following a faceoff win.

"That was nice," Bozak said. "It hasn't been going so well as of late, so it was nice to get one. Hopefully that's something that turns it around. Sometimes it's just one little thing, one little break that changes things. Hopefully, that's it."

Toronto right wing David Clarkson returned from an injury. The Maple Leafs played with seven defensemen after they scratched Carter Ashton, Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren.

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