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Uphill Battle For Leafs

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Matt Iaboni

January 15, 2011
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
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This game won't go down as one of the greatest of all time as the two teams struggled to generate much offence with the game scoreless after 40 minutes of play.

Matt Stajan got the Flames on the board with just under seven minutes to go. Mikhail Grabovski tied it up with his 18th of the year with 13 seconds left in the game. Overtime solved nothing and in the shootout, Olli Jokinen scored the winner up high on J.S. Giguere.

28:20 Ice-time for Dion Phaneuf which is a season high.
31 Hits for the Maple Leafs.
3-3 Leafs' record this season in the shootout.
56 Per cent on the draws for the Maple Leafs.
4 Straight wins for the Flames over the Leafs.
1st Star
Olli Jokinen (Shootout Winner)
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2nd Star
Mikhail Grabovski
G A P +/- Shots
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3rd Star
Matt Stajan
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He wasn't busy most the night but when his team needed him, Miikka Kiprusoff stood tall between the pipes for the Flames. The Finnish netminder improved his career record to 6-1-1 against the Leafs.

With Tyler Bozak on a breakaway in overtime, Kiprusoff got just enough of the shot to have it go off the post. In the shootout, he stopped two of the four Leafs including a great pokecheck on Mikhail Grabovski that set up Jokinen's winning goal.

J.S. Giguere made his first start in 12 games on Saturday. It was one month since his last start, against Calgary back on December 16th.

Giguere had to be sharp early as the Leafs struggled playing their sixth game in 10 days in three time zones. He stopped Rene Bourque on a breakaway in the first period and Alex Tanguay in close in the third. Giguere kept the Leafs in the game and he allowed them to pick up the point thanks to his strong play in the first 40 minutes.

This season the Maple Leafs have received big contributions from their farm team the Toronto Marlies. Marcel Mueller became the 11th Marlie to suit up in at least one game for the Leafs this season.

Mueller made his NHL debut on Saturday and he saw 12:58 of ice-time, he had two shots and he used his size dishing out four hits. Ron Wilson was pleased with his game as the German also had a few shifts with Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak.

Ron Wilson on the play of J.S. Giguere and the team's performance:

"I thought he played very well. At the end of the day, we didn't have our legs for most of the night. It was a real struggle uphill and the one step it seemed we were behind in a lot of situations. Then to top if off, you're not skating, you start to pass the puck and we didn't shoot until we got to the third period. We passed up way too many shots early in the game but we hung in there and we battled."

Wednesday, January 19 @ Rangers
  7 PM ET (TSN, AM640)

Game Notes:
The Leafs head back out on the road to the play the first game of a back-to-back. They will be meeting the Rangers for the final time this season. The Leafs beat the Rangers 4-3 in New York back on October 15th.

The Rangers lost 3-2 to Montreal on Saturday and they now return home to face the Flyers and Leafs.

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