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Big Third Caps Comeback

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthew Iaboni

December 12, 2009
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
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Heading into the third period tied at 3-3, Matt Stajan not only scored the winner but he helped set up Lee Stempniak's shorthanded marker to seal the win for the Leafs. 

At the start of Saturday's game, it was the top-ranked Capitals' power play against the 30th ranked penalty killing unit. The Capitals scored on their first PP chance in the first but that would be it as they finished the night 1-for-3 with the man advantage.

20 Games played by Phil Kessel in which he has 19 points while Matt Stajan has 18.
700 Career NHL games for Jason Blake.
7-3 Leafs record in their last 10 games.
6 Game point streaks for Niklas Hagman and Mikhail Grabovski.
5 Times the Leafs have won this season when the opponent has scored first.
1st Star
Matt Stajan
G A P +/- Shots
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2nd Star
Phil Kessel
G A P +/- Shots
1 2 3 2 3
3rd Star
Vesa Toskala
1 2 3 Shots Total
2-12 1-12 0-12 37 34-37
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Matt Stajan. The Mississauga native had his second three-point game of the season as he has locked down the No. 1 centre spot on the team.

Stajan got the the Leafs on the board in the second, added the winner in the third and he also made a great feed to Lee Stempniak for the clinching goal. The line of Stajan, Phil Kessel and Alexei Ponikarovsky combined for eight points and outplayed the Caps' top line.

Although he gave up three goals, Vesa Toskala kept the Leafs in the game early in the first and he protected the lead late in the game. His glove hand was working on Saturday as he made several big glove saves on breakaways.

With the Leafs behind, Toskala made two huge saves in the first, one on Alexander Semin and then on Alexander Ovechkin in tight. Toskala turned away Semin in the third and stopped 34 shots on the night.

After struggling at home for much of the season, the Leafs have now won three straight at Air Canada Centre. The last time the Leafs did that one has to go back to January 2008.

The winning streak at home is good news for the Blue and White as they have played 15 home games compared to 17 on the road. The Leafs play five of the next seven games at home and all of a sudden the ACC has become a tougher place to play for the opposition.

Matt Stajan on what has been the key to the Leafs turnaround:

"We’ve been playing some solid hockey for a number of weeks now. Obviously since Phil’s been in our lineup it’s been a big boost. It’s not just one guy, though … all our lines are rolling. We’re not relying on one line to score; we’re getting every line chipping in."

Monday December 14 vs. Ottawa Senators
7 PM ET (Sportsnet, AM640)

Game Notes:
The third edition of the 2009-10 Battle Of Ontario will take place when the Senators visit the ACC.

The Senators have taken both meetings so far this season as they have rebounded in '09-10 after a tough 2008-09 season.

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