CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames couldn’t deliver the final blow to the playoff chances of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
David Clarkson’s goal helped snap a 16-game point drought and his third period goal stood up as the winner after Jonathan Bernier made 21 saves to lift the Maple Leafs over the Flames at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.
Two goals in a 3:31 span early in the third period helped snap Toronto’s winless skid at eight games.
After David Bolland broke a 1-1 tie to put the Maple Leafs up just 2:16 into the third period, Clarkson extended the lead to two. On a breakaway, Clarkson extended Toronto’s lead to 3-1, dekeing before firing a shot between Karri Ramo’s legs to put Toronto up 3-1 at 5:47.
But Joe Colborne slipped a pass over the Kris Russell, who fired a shot off the bar and in to pull the Flames back within one under two minutes later.
Despite Ramo on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, Calgary couldn’t draw even to fall for the second time in three days to an Ontario-based opponent.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Maple Leafs wasted no time getting on the board.
A failed clearing attempt allowed Cody Franson scooped up a loose puck, skate into the zone and feed a cross-crease pass to Jay McClemment, who tapped his fourth of the year behind Ramo just 50 seconds into the second period.
Curtis Glencross thought he had evened the game six minutes later after deflecting Chris Butler’s point shot behind Bernier but referees ruled his stick was above the crossbar and waived off.
With 3:05 remaining in the middle stanza, former Maple Leafs forward Matt Stajan tied the game 1-1. Taking a pass from Brodie, Stajan slipped behind the Toronto defence and slid the puck between Bernier’s legs to tie the game before the second intermission.
GOAL OF THE GAME
After getting behind the Toronto defence, Stajan went in alone and faked Bernier before sliding the puck between the legs of the Maple Leafs goaltender to tie the game late in the second period.
SAVE OF THE GAME
After stepping around Tyler Wotherspoon, Nazem Kadri broke in alone on Ramo but the Flames goaltender was equal to the task in flashing the left pad to deny the 23-year-old of his 19th goal of the season.
Two goals five minutes apart from the Maple Leafs early in the third broke open a 1-1 tie and, after clinging to a one-goal lead late in regulation, paced Toronto to their first win in nine games.
STAT OF THE GAME
Losing 3-2 against the Maple Leafs, the Flames have now skated in a franchise-record with 46 one-goal games this season.
Kenny Agostino, TJ Galiardi and Ben Hanowski were scratched against the Maple Leafs. Ladislav Smid (upper body), Markus Granlund (upper body), Dennis Wideman (upper body) and David Jones (upper body) all missed the game due to injury.
The Flames continue a five-game road swing with a stop in Tampa Bay on Thursday (5:30, SNET-W, SN960).