TORONTO - With his shift over and the game seemingly headed to overtime, Andre Deveaux stayed on the ice just long enough to get Toronto the win.
Deveaux scored the tiebreaking game-winner with 34 seconds left to play Saturday afternoon as the Marlies remained unbeaten with a 3-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins in AHL action.
"He had a little left in the tank and that was his call," said Marlies coach Dallas Eakins. "He saw an opportunity to go to the net and (Jiri) Tlusty made a great pass."
Deveaux connected on a pretty give-and-go from Tlusty on a rush off a broken play in the neutral zone, thrilling the 1,786 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
Tlusty and Juraj Mikus also scored for the Marlies (2-0-0).
Jeremy Williams and Doug Janik scored for Grand Rapids (1-1-0).
Williams led off the scoring when he picked up a loose puck along the boards, skated to the high slot and snapped the puck short side on Reimer.
Janik then put the Griffins up 2-0 when he scored with less than a second left in the first period.
Eakins fired up his team during the intermission as Toronto came out to rally in the second.
"I told them 'We can all stand around here and squeeze our sticks and feel bad about ourselves and have negative thoughts, or we can just kick that period out the window and start thinking positive things,"' said Eakins.
Tlusty started the second-period comeback by connecting for his first goal of the season at 11:28 while on the power play, one of seven chances the Marlies had with a man advantage.
Mikus then scored his first AHL goal with just 19 seconds remaining in the period to tie the game 2-2. Rookie Christian Hanson had assists on both Toronto goals.
The win was the first of the season for Marlies goaltender James Reimer. With Joey MacDonald called up to the NHL after an injury to Leafs No. 2 Jonas Gustavsson, Reimer is now the No. 1 man.
"I liked our goalie, especially late," said Eakins when asked to name his team's best player on the day. "He made some big saves for us. So if I had to pick one guy, I liked our goalie."
Despite the loss, goalie Daniel Larsson was solid net for the Griffins, stopping 30 of 33 shots on goal.
The Marlies next action is Sunday afternoon in Toronto.
NOTES: Jiri Tlusty's second period goal was the first power-play marker of the season for Toronto. ...Griffins goalie Daniel Larsson made his first start if the season after rookie Thomas McCollum led the campaign off. ...The Marlies swept the three-star selection; Mikus was the third, Tlusty No. 2 and Deveaux the first. ...C Darryl Boyce was scratched from the lineup due to injury; defencemen Phil Oreskovic, Andy Rogers, Todd Perry, and left winger Robert Slaney were the other Marlies' scratches. ...Marlies franchise leaders in goals (74) and points (168), Jeremy Williams and Kris Newbury respectively, returned to Toronto for the first time since joining Grand Rapids.