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Grabovski shines against former team as Toronto beats Montreal 6-3

NHL.com @NHL

TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs hottest line kept clicking long enough for Mikhail Grabovski to show his former team what he can do.

He had a goal and an assist while linemate Niklas Hagman scored twice on Saturday as the Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-3.

Grabovski has six goals and two assists in the last four games and seems to have found all kinds of chemistry with Hagman and Nikolai Kulemin. The skilled Belarussian had three goals in 27 career games with Montreal over the last two seasons and now has seven in 15 for the Maple Leafs, who acquired him in a trade over the summer.

Nik Antropov, Pavel Kubina and Alexei Ponikarovsky also had goals for the Maple Leafs (6-5-4), who outshot an opponent for the 11th straight game and registered their most complete win of the season.

Robert Lang, Tomas Plekanec and Saku Koivu replied for Montreal (8-2-2).

The Habs were playing for the second time in as many nights and weren't able to match the pace set by the speedy Leafs.

A scary play early in the game helped Toronto get on the scoreboard first. Habs forward Tom Kostopoulos slammed Mike Van Ryn into the end boards from behind and was ejected with a major for boarding.

Van Ryn lay on the ice for several minutes with a cut on his forehead and didn't return.

The Maple Leafs weren't able to get much going during the ensuing five-minute power play but Hagman converted the only good scoring opportunity they had. Grabovski made a nifty move to get around defenceman Andrei Markov before feeding Hagman at the side of the net for a goal at 8:12.

The lead held until a wild second period that saw each team score three times.

Grabovski ripped a quick shot by former teammate Carey Price to make it 2-0 at 1:48 but was in the penalty box for goaltender interference when Lang got the Habs on the board three minutes later.

Plekanec's power-play goal at 9:59 tied the score and drew a loud ovation from the large group of Habs fans that were among the 19,512 in attendance at Air Canada Centre.

Hagman and Koivu then traded quick goals before Antropov put the Leafs up 4-3 at 16:27. With Price out of position, the big Kazak took four whacks at the puck in a scrum before finally getting it past Habs defenceman Mike Komisarek.

That goal gave the Leafs a lead heading into the third period for just the fourth time in 15 games this season.

Kubina extended the advantage at 1:13 after Markov was penalized for hitting Hagman from behind. The Leafs defenceman one-timed a shot behind Price and pumped his fists in celebration of the team's third power-play goal of the night.

Chris Higgins appeared to have brought the Habs closer with 6:49 to play but his goal was disallowed because he deflected the puck with his stick above the crossbar.

Ponikarovsky put the game out of reach at 16:32 when he beat Price with a nice deke move.

Notes: Former Leaf and World War II veteran Gaye Stewart read the poem "In Flanders Fields" before the game ... Since the NHL lockout, each team has won 13 games against the other ... The total number of goals each has scored in those games? Montreal 87, Toronto 87 ... The Habs scratched Roman Hamrlik, Mathieu Dandenault and Steve Begin... Jiri Tlusty replaced John Mitchell (shoulder) in Toronto's lineup ... Jonas Frogren, Anton Stralman and Ryan Hollweg sat out for the Maple Leafs.

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