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Leafs Hang On Against Rangers

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
NEW YORK -- Phil Kessel had two assists to add to his NHL-leading point total, and the Toronto Maple Leafs snapped the New York Rangers' five-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory Monday.

The Maple Leafs scored twice in less than two minutes to take a 3-0 lead early in the second period, then gave both goals back in another quick burst later in the period.

Jonas Gustavsson made 12 saves in the third to preserve the one-goal margin, repeatedly turning New York away on a power play in the final minute before David Steckel scored an empty-net goal with five seconds left.

The Rangers had won seven straight at home. Their only two regulation losses at Madison Square Garden this season are to Toronto, which also won 4-2 in New York's home opener on Oct. 27.

Cody Franson, Tim Connolly and Joffrey Lupul scored for the Leafs, who had been on a run of facing hot teams. Their last two games, both losses, were against the Boston Bruins, who have won 14 of 15.

The Rangers missed a chance to tie the score early in the second period when Sean Avery briefly had an open goal after Gustavsson left the net and couldn't clear the puck. But the goalie was able to sprawl back in front at the last moment to preserve the lead.

The Leafs quickly made it 2-0. After a faceoff in the Rangers' end, Michael Sauer couldn't clear the puck, and Connolly controlled it with his skate and flicked it past Henrik Lundqvist just over five minutes into the period.

Joffrey Lupul camped out in front of the goal to score on a power play 97 seconds later, with assists from Tyler Bozak and Kessel.

The Rangers made it a one-goal deficit again with two scores in 92 seconds. Artem Anisimov scored with seven minutes left in the period, with assists from Brandon Prust and Michael Del Zotto.

Just over a minute later, New York had a 5-on-3 advantage after Bozak was called for hooking with Steckel already in the penalty box. The Rangers needed only 20 seconds to score, with Marian Gaborik pulling them within one.

Gustavsson started in goal for the Maple Leafs after James Reimer returned in their loss Saturday in Boston, his first game since Oct. 22. Gustavsson had 30 saves.

The Rangers got a power play midway through the third when Bozak was again called for hooking but couldn't shake their struggles with the man advantage. Ryan Callahan had the best chance, alone in front of the net, but his shot sailed high.

Franson scored his second goal of the season just over six minutes in to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead. Kessel, who came in tied for the league lead in points (32) and goals (16), and John-Michael Liles had the assists.

NOTES: New York's Brad Richards extended his point streak to six games with an assist on Gaborik's goal. He has 10 points over that span. ... The Rangers were 3-0-1 against the Maple Leafs last season.

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