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Leafs blow 3-0 lead but clip Wings 5-4 in shootout

by John Kreiser
The Toronto Maple Leafs went from a seemingly easy win to a disappointing loss to a shootout victory -- all in the span of a few minutes.

The Leafs blew a 3-0 lead by allowing the Detroit Red Wings to score four unanswered goals, but tied the game on Mikhail Grabovski's goal with 1:11 left in regulation and beat Chris Osgood twice in the shootout for a 5-4 victory at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night.

Viktor Stahlberg scored twice in the first period and set up fellow rookie Nazem Kadri's goal midway through the second period to put Toronto ahead by three. But Niklas Kronwall scored late in the second period and again at 7:16 of the third to make it a one-goal game, and Johan Franzen beat Vesa Toskala twice in 14 seconds to put Detroit ahead.

Grabovski tied the game just as the Leafs got Toskala to the bench for an extra attacker. After a scoreless overtime, Toronto's Nikolai Kulemin and Detroit's Daniel Cleary exchanged shootout goals before John Mitchell beat Chris Osgood in the fourth round to win the game, dropping the Wings to 2-3-1. Toronto is 5-2-0.

The teams conclude their preseason schedules with a rematch Saturday night in Toronto. After that, the Red Wings will head to Europe for the Compuware NHL Premiere against St. Louis in Stockholm next Friday and Saturday.

Bruins 2, Senators 1

The Bruins improved to 5-1-1 in the preseason -- with all five wins by the same score -- when Drew Fata scored 7:16 into the third to break a 1-1 tie.

Fata, a defenseman who played in the Senators' organization last season, blasted a screened slap shot from the blue line past Pascal Leclaire. Brad Marchand also scored for the Bruins, and Tim Thomas made 34 saves -- including 17 in the third period.

Thomas, last season's Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie, won for the second time in two nights.

"Tonight and last night he showed why he's one of the top goalies in the League," Fata said.
Ryan Shannon put Ottawa ahead 12:43 into the game by firing Chris Campoli's power-play rebound behind Thomas. Marchand tied it at the 19-minute mark by tipping Derek Morris' point shot past Leclaire's glove.

Leclaire, who's being counted on to be the starter, looked sharp in an 18-save effort.

"I think he's been outstanding the last few games he's played, he's been real solid," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "It's confidence. We gave up a few chances off a couple of turnovers where he makes the big save and as we get better and better, we can make it easier for him."

Ottawa finished its preseason with a 2-4 record. The Bruins wrap-up theirs Saturday night at home against Columbus.

Hurricanes 4, Thrashers 3

Two of Carolina's big guns, Eric Staal and Ray Whitney, look like they're ready for the season. Each had three points as the Hurricanes held off the Thrashers at RBC Center.

Staal and Whitney assisted on Scott Walker's first-period goal, and Staal made it 2-0 with an unassisted power-play tally at 6:08 of the second period. After Atlanta tied it on goals by Tim Stapleton and Maxim Afinogenov, Staal and Whitney set up Joe Corvo's power-play goal at 8:08. Whitney's goal at 16:23 proved to be the winner when Michael Vernace scored 49 seconds later.

Whitney left the game with 37 seconds left after taking a puck in the face, but coach Paul Maurice said he's going to be OK.

The line of Staal, Whitney and Erik Cole line accounted for seven of Carolina’s 10 points, while Corvo added a goal and an assist.

"Whit just makes great plays," Staal said when asked about his linemate. "He fed me in the slot a few times and I missed the net a couple times and got a few more good looks. He’s one of those players who really makes the guys around him better. We were starting to get better as the game went on, cycling the puck in the third period in the offensive zone."

Blackhawks 4, Wild 3

Patrick Kane had his first two preseason goals and rookie Rob Klinkhammer got the game-winner in the third period as the Hawks won for the first time and wrapped up the North American portion of their preseason schedule.

Klinkhammer tipped Brent Seabrook's point shot past Josh Harding with 5:20 remaining to break a 3-3 tie. The Hawks now head for Europe, where they play exhibitions against Swiss League teams on Monday and Tuesday before opening the season in the Compuware NHL Premiere against Florida in Helsinki on Friday and Saturday.

Minnesota, now 2-4-0, grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first 15:07 on goals by James Sheppard and Brent Burns. But Kane scored a shorthanded breakaway goal at 16:58, then tied the game at 2-2 by scoring on the power play at 1:45 of the second period.

''Today assistant coach Mike Haviland came up to me and said, 'You're going to be killing penalties,''' Kane said. ''I said, 'Yeah, whatever.' When you get a goal like that, it can turn the game around a little bit.''

Colin Fraser's goal at 12:46 gave the Hawks their first lead. But Martin Havlat, Chicago's top scorer last season, tied the game at 15:16 with a wrist shot that deflected off defenseman Duncan Keith and went past Cristobal Huet.

Sharks 6, Ducks 0

It was only a preseason game, but it was a night Douglas Murray will never forget.

The San Jose defenseman, who owns one goal in 210 regular-season games, scored three times and added an assist as the Sharks got at least a small measure of revenge against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last spring. The teams meet for real on Oct. 3 in the Ducks' opener.

Murray scored 14:46 into the game and again at 3:08 of the second for a 2-0 lead. Newly signed Manny Malhotra made it 3-0 at 9:47, and Ryane Clowe scored off at 12:18, with Murray earning an assist.

Murray, who had no goals and 7 assists last season, completed the hat trick with a one-timer past Justin Pogge at 2:42 of the third. Devin Setoguchi completed the scoring at 12:56 off a feed from Patrick Marleau.

Murray was on the ice for Malhotra's goal and finished the night plus-5.

Dan Boyle added two assists and newcomer Dany Heatley had one. Evgeni Nabokov had to make only 15 saves for the shutout.

Material from wire services and team broadcast and online media was used in this report.

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