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Maple Leafs pull out OT win over Penguins

TORONTO — Mikhail Grabovski scored 42 seconds into overtime to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory over the Penguins on Wednesday night.

Grabovski took a pass from Phil Kessel, who tied it in the third period, and stuffed a shot behind Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Maple Leafs moved within four points of eighth-place Carolina in the Eastern Conference. It was far from the best effort from a tired-looking Toronto team that still managed to improve to 9-2-4 since the All-Star break.

Forward Clarke MacArthur, who assisted on the Maple Leafs' first goal, said Toronto felt like this game was do-or-die for its playoff chances.

Nikolai Kulemin also scored for the Maple Leafs.

Matt Niskanen and Chris Conner scored for Pittsburgh. For Niskanen, acquired in a trade with the Stars last week, the goal was his first of the season.

Some bizarre scheduling had the Penguins playing their second consecutive game at Air Canada Centre. They returned to Pittsburgh for a couple of days after their 6-5 shootout victory on Saturday.

This game was nowhere near as fast-paced. The Leafs managed just 10 shots through 40 minutes. But they were trailing only 2-1 heading to the final period, and Kessel tied it just more than five minutes in. His eighth goal in eight games came off a nifty tip of a point shot from Carl Gunnarsson.

Game highlights: Blake Comeau scored two goals and the host Islanders beat the Wild 4-1. New York enforcer Trevor Gillies, in his first game back from a nine-game suspension for giving Pittsburgh's Eric Tangradi a concussion with an a elbow to the head and punching his head while Tangradi lay on the ice, was tossed out 2:23 into the second for a hit from behind on Minnesota wing Cal Clutterbuck.

Devils: Four months after having surgery on his right knee, star forward Zach Parise has been cleared to start skating again.

at Maple Leafs 1 0 1 1 3
Penguins 1 1 0 0 2

First Period1, Pittsburgh, Niskanen 1 (Lovejoy, Dupuis), 6:52. 2, Toronto, Kulemin 23 (MacArthur, Grabovski), 14:04. PenaltiesLetang, Pit (holding), :13; Phaneuf, Tor (interference), 4:43; Engelland, Pit (high-sticking), 9:05; Aulie, Tor (cross-checking), 18:33; Neal, Pit (slashing), 19:17.

Second Period3, Pittsburgh, Conner 7 (Niskanen), 6:40. PenaltiesPittsburgh bench, served by Conner (too many men), :48; Lupul, Tor (tripping), 1:51.

Third Period4, Toronto, Kessel 27 (Gunnarsson, Bozak), 5:07. PenaltiesLovejoy, Pit (tripping), 16:42.

Overtime5, Toronto, Grabovski 25 (Kessel, Gunnarsson), :42. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalPittsburgh 8-9-12-0—29. Toronto 6-4-9-1—20. Power-play opportunitiesPittsburgh 0 of 3; Toronto 0 of 5. GoaliesPittsburgh, Fleury 28-16-5 (20 shots-17 saves). Toronto, Reimer 11-4-3 (29-27). A19,473 (18,819).

at Islanders 2 2 0 4
Wild 0 0 1 1

First Period1, NYI, Comeau 16 (Nielsen, Bailey), 10:31 (pp). 2, NYI, Okposo 4 (Grabner, Nielsen), 18:37. PenaltiesSchultz, Min (hooking), 8:34; Okposo, NYI (hooking), 11:32.

Second Period3, NYI, Comeau 17 (M.Martin, Gervais), :41. 4, NYI, MacDonald 2 (Okposo, Nielsen), 16:05 (pp). PenaltiesClutterbuck, Min (boarding), 2:23; T.Gillies, NYI, major-game misconduct (check from behind), 2:23; Konopka, NYI, misconduct, 2:23; Hillen, NYI (clipping), 12:37; Stoner, Min (holding stick), 15:41; Staubitz, Min, major (fighting), 19:01; Clutterbuck, Min, misconduct, 19:01; Konopka, NYI, major (fighting), 19:01.

Third Period5, Minn., Madden 10 (Bouchard, Havlat), 11:33. PenaltiesPeters, Min (boarding), 19:32. Shots on GoalMinn. 10-10-14—34. NYI 17-16-8—41. Power-play opportunitiesMinn. 0 of 3; NYI 2 of 3. GoaliesMinn., Backstrom 20-16-4 (19 shots-16 saves), Theodore (0:41 second, 22-21). NYI, Montoya 4-2-1 (34-33). A7,098 (16,234).

Playoff chase

With nonshootout wins (the first tiebreaker) and games remaining. Division winners get the top three seeds:

East Pts. Wins GR

1. Flyers 86 38 20

2. Bruins 81 36 19

3. Lightning 81 32 19

4. Penguins 81 32 17

5. Capitals 78 32 18

6. Canadiens 75 32 18

7. Rangers 70 26 17

8. Hurricanes 69 26 18

9. Sabres 67 25 20

10. Maple Leafs 65 24 18

11. Thrashers 63 23 18

West Pts. Wins GR

1. Canucks 89 37 18

2. Red Wings* 84 35 19

3. Sharks 80 32 18

4. Coyotes 76 30 17

5. Flames* 75 26 17

6. Stars 74 29 19

7. Blackhawks* 74 29 19

8. Kings 74 28 19

9. Predators 73 26 18

10. Wild 72 31 18

11. Ducks* 71 29 19

12. Blue Jackets 69 27 20

* Late result not included

Maple Leafs pull out OT win over Penguins 03/02/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2011 4:44pm]
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