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Tlusty's game winner helps Marlies drop struggling Falcons 3-1 @NHLdotcom

TORONTO - Jiri Tlusty's eventual game winner led the Toronto Marlies to a 3-1 victory over the slumping Springfield Falcons in AHL action Sunday.

It was the Falcons' third loss in three days and their eleventh straight overall.

The Marlies (27-19-2-5) took advantage of their weaker competition, playing a physical, bruising game and outshooting Springfield by a two-to-one ratio.

Toronto right-winger Jeremy Williams opened the scoring with a wrist shot past Springfield goalie Devan Dubnyk that came in just under the crossbar five minutes into the first.

The Falcons (16-30-6-2) struck back soon after when left-winger Jean-Francois Jacques put one by Toronto goalie Adam Munro during the game's first power play.

But the biggest roar of the first period came when Marlies centre Mark Bell pancaked Springfield's Taylor Chorney with a huge hit behind the Falcons net. What followed was a great Toronto energy shift spearheaded by recent addition Ryan Hollweg, who threw about half a dozen solid bodychecks and caused a great scoring chance.

After a laconic start to the second period, Toronto's Andre Deveaux attempted to break up the monotony with six minutes remaining. The big centre fired a shot off two posts that warranted a look upstairs by officials before being waved off.

Tlusty broke the deadlock in the second for Toronto, pouncing on a loose puck during a scramble and lifting it over a prone Dubnyk.

The Marlies put some distance between themselves and the Falcons on their first and only power play of the game, which didn't occur until the third period. With the puck coming back to the point, Toronto centre Darryl Boyce rocketed a slapshot through a maze of bodies in front of the net, eluding Dubnyk in the process.

The young goaltender kept the Falcons in the game most of the afternoon, turning away 30 shots, but he couldn't do it all himself.

The lack of legs for Springfield was best represented midway through the third when both Tlusty and Toronto linemate Tim Stapleton both passed Falcons defenceman Sebastien Bisaillon en route to negating an icing call.

Munro, rarely busy in the game, nonetheless turned aside a great scoring opportunity just moments later when he poke-checked a surging Shane Willis.

Notes: Toronto's Jiri Tlusty is now on a seven-game point streak, while Tim Stapleton, who assisted on Tlusty's goal, is also on a seven-game run. . . . Gilbert Brule, drafted sixth overall by Columbus of the NHL in 2006, was a healthy scratch for Springfield. . . . Ryan Hollweg played his second game for the Marlies.

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