TORONTO -- Nazem Kadri and the Toronto Maple Leafs like to think of the first period as the most important 20 minutes of the game. Chris Devenski Jersey . That worked out well against the Philadelphia Flyers, though making the third period their worst almost didnt. The Leafs blew two leads after the second intermission but managed to rebound to beat the Flyers 4-3 in overtime Saturday night at Air Canada Centre. "It feels good," game-winning goal-scorer Joffrey Lupul said of bouncing back. "We dont want to make a habit of blowing third-period leads. Things are going to happen, other teams are going to make plays and we stuck with it. "There was a good feeling on our bench going into overtime. It seemed like everyone had their composure and were calm and we got the result we needed." The result was the Leafs second straight overtime victory but also the fourth game in five since the Olympic break that involved blowing at least one third-period lead. Toronto had a two-goal lead 3:38 into the first by virtue of goals by Jake Gardiner and Kadri, but that slipped away after Flyers defenceman Kimmo Timonen scored twice. Mason Raymonds go-ahead goal later in the third was then erased when Braydon Coburn beat Jonathan Bernier with plenty of traffic in front. That was the sixth time the Leafs had coughed up a lead in the final period of regulation in the past five games. Gardiner called it "a little bit of a collapse defensively," and it was hard for his teammates to disagree given this disturbing trend. "Obviously thats a little bit of a concern, but thats not something thats drawing our complete attention," Kadri said. "Obviously our D-zone could be a little tighter, but thats something weve got to work on." With 17 games left in the regular season, theres some time to go to work, but most importantly, Leafs players took out of Saturday night the satisfaction of not caving in and managing to pick up two valuable points. Toronto (34-23-8) now has 76 points, two up on the Tampa Bay Lightning for the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. "Thats really what we focus on: we show character to stay in games," Kadri said. "Even though its a little bit deflating at times giving up a couple goal-leads in the third period, especially late to force overtime, we stay positive and came out with the right outcome." Coach Randy Carlyle had his issues with the Leafs performance, like when he thought players stopped skating at the end of the second period and how several stayed on the ice for shifts that were too long for his liking. But he, too, took a positive out of regrouping after Coburn tied the score again at the 17:28 mark of the third. "A lot of times when the game gets away from you, your team goes and continues to spiral," Carlyle said. "Well we didnt spiral, in my mind. Maybe if I re-watch it again Ill have a different opinion, but it didnt seem like we were under siege in the third." At the start, the Leafs had the Flyers (33-24-7) under siege. The goals by Gardiner and Kadri came on Torontos first four shots against Steve Mason, who looked shaky for at least the first handful of minutes. From Coburns perspective, it wasnt just Mason, who stopped 32 of the 36 shots he faced. "We had an awful start," he said. "We cant start hockey that way." While Leafs winger Troy Bodie, who helped set up Gardiners goal as part of his two-assist night, noticed a jump from those two early goals, it put Philadelphia in a major hole that it had to climb out of the rest of the game. "The first 10 minutes of the game, we didnt play that good and they were able to score two goals, but I think the next 50-54 minutes, we were skating and working and creating chances," said Timonen, who scored his first career goals against the Leafs in his 30th game against them. "We were a better team after that first 10 minutes." Bernier made several memorable saves among his 28 to keep the Flyers from breaking through until the third period. And Mason bounced back to stop 29 consecutive shots between Kadris goal in the first and Raymonds in the third. "He held us in there," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "I thought he did a real good job, made some big saves. Theyre a good offensive team, they make plays and he came up big." What usually makes the Leafs such a good offensive team is big contributions from James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel. That top line was kept off the score sheet Saturday night, but goals from Gardiner, Lupul, Raymond and Kadri got Toronto two points and could portend good things moving forward. "I think thats what is going to be a key to our success as the season goes on," Lupul said. "As good as our first line has been, it would be asking a lot for them to sustain the pace theyve had these past 10, 15 games. Were going to have to step up and were getting opportunities. Tonight some of them went in for us." The Leafs biggest question mark going into a five-game road trip that starts Monday in Anaheim is how to stop other teams from putting the puck in the net so much, especially while leading in the third period. Lupul credited the Flyers for being a desperate opponent, while also considering it could be partially because of inexperience on the part of the Leafs. "Wed like to do a little better job defending or actually staying on the offence, but sometimes the other team is going to make some plays, too," he said. "We wouldve loved to hang on and not need overtime." It was in overtime that Lupul was able to come through as the hero, scoring on a tic-tac-toe passing play that started with Carl Gunnarsson and Dion Phaneuf. "We finished strong and Neuf and Lupes made a great play on the last goal," Gardiner said. Lupuls 19th goal of the season managed to at least temporarily shift this problem into the background. Or perhaps it wont become a real issue until the Leafs lose one of these games in regulation, as they improved to 24-1-2 when leading after two. "I dont think we want to keep that path going," Gardiner said. "They go both ways sometimes, and tonight we got it. NOTES -- Winger David Clarkson was scratched for the Maple Leafs after a pulled muscle from Fridays practice continued to bother him. Defenceman Paul Ranger was a healthy scratch as Frazer McLaren was called up so the Leafs could dress 12 forwards. ... The Leafs honoured 19 gold- and silver-medal-winning Canadian Olympians prior to the game, including five players from the womens hockey team. ... Steve Downie was scratched for the Flyers because of the flu. Ex-Leafs forward Jay Rosehill took his place, making his biggest impact on the game by fighting McLaren in the second period. Joaquin Andujar Jersey . According to a report from ESPN, the Green Bay Packers have re-signed the cornerback to a four-year, $39 million deal with a $12. Custom Astros T-shirts .com) - Minnesota Vikings fans would surely concede Teddy Bridgewater is not Peyton Manning.The St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres came to an agreement on a big trade that may only offer incremental improvement to the Blues in their quest for a Stanley Cup. Numbers Game breaks down the Blues acquisition of Ryan Miller and Steve Ott. The Blues Get: G Ryan Miller and C Steve Ott. Miller, 33, is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, despite rarely getting rewarded with wins by this struggling Sabres team. Millers .923 save percentage this season is the second-best of his career, bettered only by his .929 save percentage in 2009-2010, when he won the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender. Its that strong play from Miller this year that has made him an attractive commodity on the trade market because, over the past three seasons, his .926 even-strength save percentage is only okay, just barely ahead of Jaroslav Halaks .925 mark. Its also not like Miller has a sterling playoff reputation. He hasnt played beyond the first round since 2007 and his .917 career save percentage in the playoffs is actually worse than Halaks .923. The numbers arent going to present a strong edge for Miller, so the deal has to be predicated on some comfort level; that the Blues intangibly feel better about their chances with Miller than Halak. Ott is a 31-year-old forward who has been asked to handle too much ice time on a Sabres team lacking bona fide NHL talent. Hes averaging a career-high 19:42 per game -- a couple of seconds more per game than current Blues No. 1 centre David Backes -- despite getting destroyed in terms of puck possession. However, Ott had established earlier in his career that he could be a decent complementary forward, skating in a top-nine role and penalty killing while chipping in some offence and annoying just about anyone he comes in contact with. Since the start of the 2009-2010 season, Ott is the only player in the NHL to have at least 60 goals and 600 penalty minutes. In a third or fourth-line role with the Blues, though, Ott should be in position to have some success. Both Miller and Ott will be unrestricted free agents in the summer, so there isnt any grand financial commitment from the Blues, though if their playoff run goes well, its safe to assume that St. Louis would at least want to keep Miller around. The Sabres Get: G Jaroslav Halak, RW Chris Stewart, LW William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a third-round pick in 2016. Halak, 28, has been decent this season, posting a .917 save percentage (that matches his career mark) in 40 games. Hes had some ups and downs, including an injury-marred 2013 season during which he posted an .899 save perccentage but, by and large, hes been an above average goaltender throughout his 260-game NHL career. Lance Berkman Jersey. Halaks .917 career save percentage is actually a hair better than Millers .916 save percentage. While Halak was moved out, its not impossible for the Sabres to flip him again prior to the deadline. Halak will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so there are no guarantees about where hes going to be playing next year. Stewart is a 26-year-old power forward who has 15 goals, 26 points and a career-high 112 penalty minutes in 58 games this season. Those numbers are a far cry from last season, when Stewart led the Blues with 36 points in 48 games and his ice time has been knocked down to 14:42 per game, his lowest since his rookie year in 2008-2009. Even worse, Stewart has been getting torched in terms of puck possession, despite starting more than 60% of his shifts in the offensive zone. On a team as good as the Blues, thats not easy to accomplish. Nevertheless, Stewart is a big winger who can score and is under contract at a cap hit of $4.15-million for next season. If he doesnt perform well in Buffalo, Stewart could very easily be moved again, or he could get flipped even before he suits up for the Sabres. Carrier was a second-round pick of the Blues in 2013 and has 56 points (17 G, 39 A) in 59 QMJHL games. He has the size to be a power foward and was traded to Drummondville part way through the season. Carrier will need a few years to develop, but his offensive production this year raises some questions about whether hes going to be a notable scorer as a pro. Getting the Blues first-round pick in 2015 is a nice coup for the Sabres. Its not as though the Blues can be expected to collapse and be in line for the No. 1 pick, which is earmarked for Connor McDavid, but the 2015 draft is expected to be strong, so there is likely more value for the Sabres getting that pick rather than one late in the 2014 draft. The third-round pick in 2016 is a nice sweetener, with upside, as it could be a first-round pick if the Blues reach the Western Conference Final or Miller re-signs in St. Louis. These are two teams in virtually opposite positions. The Blues are ready to take a run at the Stanley Cup and are willing to take on a couple of potential rentals to help in that regard, and while the Blues sacrificed some draft pick value, they didnt lose any core pieces of the team that has been so successful to this point in the season. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. ' ' '
Jan 4, 2020
Toronto Maple Leafs like to think of th
Toronto Maple Leafs like to think of th