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Leafs get payback with 4-1 win at Edmonton

by Robin Brownlee /

EDMONTON -- Revenge was sweet for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Twelve days after being beaten 5-0 at the Air Canada Centre by the Edmonton Oilers, the Maple Leafs returned the favor Tuesday night with a dominating 4-1 victory at Rexall Place.

The Leafs wore their home blue uniforms and played before a sellout crowd of 16,839 that was liberally dotted with Toronto fans. They rewarded their backers with goals from Dion Phaneuf, Mikhail Grabovski, Kris Versteeg and Phil Kessel to exact payback for the blanking they took at home.

"We played better than the score showed, but we still got beat 5-0," Phaneuf said. "You don't like getting beat 5-0, especially at home. We definitely had that in the back of our minds. We knew that were a pretty confident group coming into the night by some of the things that were said, so they were feeling good. We knew it was going to be a big effort for our team."

Grabovski's power-play goal 8:28 into the second period broke a 1-1 tie. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 23 saves as the Maple Leafs won for just the fourth time in 13 road games this season, kicking off a swing through Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

"Not really too much, to be honest with you," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said when asked if the 5-0 loss, despite outshooting the Oilers 33-19, was used as motivation.

"As ugly as the game was, we didn't play that bad. We had more scoring chances than they did. Tonight, we buried our chances. Simple."

The Oilers dropped their second straight game at home with a performance that was every bit as lukewarm as the so-so effort they put fourth in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Sunday. They're 5-8-2 at Rexall Place.

"I thought we had a good first period. The intensity was there," said rookie Jordan Eberle, the only Oiler to beat Giguere. "We got into a little penalty trouble in the second period and that, for sure, hurt us.

"It killed the momentum and they scored a couple and it's tough to get back."

Nikolai Khabibulin, who made 33 saves to blank the Maple Leafs in Toronto, and Giguere earned their keep in the first period as the teams played it wide open and split 24 shots.

Phaneuf, in his third game back from a lacerated leg, opened the scoring with his first goal of the season when he drifted a point shot past a partially screened Khabibulin at 5:55.

Eberle, who scored just his second goal in the last 20 games in Sunday's loss to Vancouver, tied it at 11:45 when he took a pass from Sam Gagner and tucked the puck high over Giguere.

"I don't think it was good enough. I mean, we lost the game," Eberle said. "It's as simple as that. We need to be better."

Grabovski got the eventual winner, scoring his fourth goal in the last five games when he re-directed a slap-pass from Clarke MacArthur behind Khabibulin.

Despite dominating the second period -- Toronto had a 13-3 margin in shots -- it took a lucky break for the Maple Leafs to get the goal that put them up 3-1. Versteeg fired a puck from the point that rattled around in the crease before Edmonton defenseman Jason Strudwick kicked the puck into the net the net at 17:38 to make it 3-1.

Kessel put it away with a power-play goal at 9:47 of the third.

"It was a big win for our team," Phaneuf said. "We knew this was a big trip. We talked about it before the game, how we wanted to start on the right foot.

"I think we played a real solid game. We didn't give up a lot. We capitalized on some opportunities."

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