TORONTO - It might be time to start calling the Toronto Maple Leafs the NHL's comeback kids.
Pavel Kubina's hard slapshot from the point with just over five minutes to play Saturday helped the Maple Leafs overcome another two-goal deficit and beat the New York Rangers 5-2.
Journeyman Rangers goaltender Steve Valiquette appeared headed for his fourth straight win over the Maple Leafs until Toronto scored four times in a span of 3:30 to snatch a victory away from the NHL's top team.
New York was leading 2-0 in the third period when John Mitchell started the Leafs comeback by scoring the first goal of his NHL career at 12:36. That brought a dead quiet Air Canada Centre to life and Toronto just kept on coming.
Jason Blake tied the score at 14:02 and Kubina notched the eventual winner just 52 seconds later.
Mitchell, with his second, and Dominic Moore also added goals for the Maple Leafs (5-3-3), who have erased two-goal deficits and pulled out wins in three of their past six games.
Ryan Callahan and Blair Betts replied for New York (10-3-1).
The Rangers weathered a fairly strong start by the Maple Leafs and managed to kill off three penalties before Callahan got them on the board.
The winger scored his fourth goal of the season with 9.3 seconds left in the first period after taking a beautiful cross-ice pass from defenceman Daniel Girardi and beating goalie Vesa Toskala high with a wrist shot.
Toronto had a couple good chances to even the score in the second period but Tomas Kaberle's point shot rang off a post and Valiquette got his glove on a hard attempt from Alex Steen.
An unlikely source extended the Rangers lead to 2-0 as Betts got his second goal of the year - matching last year's output - at 15:25 of the second period. Dmitri Kalinin's point shot caromed off the boards behind the goal before the fourth-liner tucked the puck in the open side.
It was the fifth time in the last six games that Toronto has found itself down by two goals and it looked like it might be too much to overcome.
Valiquette stopped Matt Stajan from in close early in the third period before turning away a Nik Antropov chance with a quick pad save.
The 31-year-old Valiquette grew up in nearby Etobicoke and has had the Maple Leafs number. But that was soon to end with the flurry of late goals.
Toronto moves on to Carolina for a game against the Hurricanes on Sunday evening.
Notes: Announced attendance was 19,179 ... Defenceman Anton Stralman was back in the Leafs lineup while Jonas Frogren, Carlo Colaiacovo and Ian White were scratched ... Valiquette shut out the Leafs in a 1-0 Rangers win on Oct. 17 ... Toronto forward Jason Blake played his 600th NHL game ... Luke Schenn turns 19 on Sunday ...Heading into the night, the Leafs had the fourth-most blocked shots of any NHL team with 162.