With one swift move, Jason Blake gave Toronto Maple Leaf fans a different kind of shootout memory.
The winger scored the shootout winner with a spinaround deke on Tuesday as the Maple Leafs pulled out a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Nik Antropov and Jeremy Williams scored in regulation for the Maple Leafs (12-12-6), who have won three straight games for the first time this season.
Mike Rupp and Zach Parise replied for New Jersey (16-9-3).
The Maple Leafs have consistently struggled in the shootout since it was introduced in 2005 but Blake's highlight goal delivered a rare win in the tiebreaker.
That would not have been possible without goaltender Vesa Toskala, who stopped Travis Zajac on a clear breakaway in the final seconds of overtime.
The three periods of regulation were like a flashback to what the NHL was like before the 2004-05 lockout. It featured very few scoring chances because neither team was able to use its speed and generate rushes - at least after the Devils opened the scoring.
That happened 1:49 into the game after Colin White and John Madden broke in on a 2-on-1. Toskala stopped the first chance, but was down and out when defenceman Jeff Finger accidentally cleared the puck onto Rupp's stick. He promptly scored his third goal of the season.
The 1-0 advantage held for the next 25 minutes as the teams settled into a defensive, low-energy lull. It began to lift early in the second period as the Maple Leafs started getting some chances and Antropov eventually broke through.
The big winger skated across the crease and shovelled a rebound behind Scott Clemmensen at 7:24 for his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
Williams put the Leafs up 2-1 at 15:06 and continued his hot streak. He beat Clemmensen - his teammate with the AHL Marlies last season - with a wrist shot the Devils goalie probably should have stopped. That gave Williams a goal in three straight games since being recalled from the minors.
A questionable tripping penalty to Finger helped New Jersey draw even. Parise drove hard to the net and had the puck deflect off his visor and into the goal at 19:40.
Toronto outshot the Devils 9-4 in the third period but New Jersey had the best chance to win it. A Tomas Kaberle giveaway in the final minute gave Parise an open lane to the goal, but Toskala stopped his wrist shot.
Notes: Announced attendance was 19,315 ... The Devils are 10-7-1 since Brodeur suffered a torn biceps injury on Nov. 1 ... Toskala started his ninth straight game ... Patrik Elias had an assist on New Jersey's second goal to extend his points streak to seven games ... Toronto was without Luke Schenn (knee), Niklas Hagman (concussion), Jonas Frogren (arm) and Jamal Mayers (hand) ... Brodeur, Andy Greene (hand) and Sheldon Brookbank (healthy) sat out for New Jersey ... The Devils play at Buffalo on Wednesday ... Toronto heads out for a three-game road trip starting Thursday in Boston.