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Leafs Clutch In Shootout

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthew Iaboni

March 18, 2010
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
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The Maple Leafs had numerous chances to put the game away in regulation but the Devils hung tough and forced the game to overtime. With neither team finding the back of the net in the extra frame, it was down to the shootout.

After goals from Phil Kessel and Nikolai Kulemin, John Mitchell iced the win with a nice move as he faked the shot that fooled Yann Danis and Mitchell had the open net to slide the puck in.

3/5 Phil Kessel in the shootout this season.
1/2 John Mitchell in the shootout this season.
2/2 Nikolai Kulemin in the shootout this season.
204 Penalty minutes for Colton Orr on the season which leads the NHL.
29:31 Ice-time for Francois Beauchemin which is a season high.
1st Star
J.S. Giguere
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2nd Star
Phil Kessel
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 E 6
3rd Star
Yann Danis
26 25 1 65:00 .961
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J.S. Giguere rebounded from Sunday's loss to have a strong game Thursday. Giguere was sharp throughout the game as he made several big saves late in the third when the Leafs ran into penalty trouble.

As the game wore on and he had faced more shots, Giguere stood tall as he won his second game this season in the shootout. Of his four wins with the Leafs, two have come against New Jersey.

After missing 20 games earlier this season with a knee injury, John Mitchell seems to have hit his stride lately. Mitchell picked up an assist on Phil Kessel's first period goal but it was his defensive work that was most impressive.

He was the top Leafs forward killing penalties as he played 3:17. Along with Christian Hanson and Fredrik Sjostrom, the three were out against the Devils' top line all game long and they held them pointless.

The Maple Leafs have tried to make Air Canada Centre a tougher place to play and over their past four games that is exactly what they've done. They have won four straight at home for the first time this season.

Over those four games the offence has registered 16 goals and the defence has been much improved allowing 11 goals. With 11 games left, seven at home, the Leafs will look to keep rolling on home ice.

John Mitchell on the impressive shootout performance for the Leafs:

"The boys were good on the shootout, that's for sure. We came down, we picked our targets, made our moves and they all worked out great for us tonight. Actually I said on the bench exactly what I was going to do to Wally (Rickard Wallin) and whoever else was on the left-hand side of me there and you know it just worked out the way I exactly planned it in my head and what I told them. I had it in my head and I stuck with it."

Saturday March 20 vs. Montreal Canadiens
  7 PM ET (CBC, AM640)

Game Notes:
The Leafs' three-game homestand continues as the rival Montreal Canadiens make their final appearance in Toronto this season.

This is the fifth meeting between the two teams with the Canadiens having won three games this season. All of their wins have been in the shootout or overtime.

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