Sports Network | March 2, 2011
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Mikhail Grabovski finished off a series of deft passes just 42 seconds into overtime, lifting the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Air Canada Centre.
Phil Kessel scored the equalizer early in the third period and enabled Grabovski's winner with a one-touch pass, helping the Leafs snap a two-game slide. They had lost to the Penguins in a shootout on Saturday.
Nikolai Kulemin also lit the lamp for Toronto, while James Reimer made 27 saves.
Matt Niskanen and Chris Conner tallied for Pittsburgh, which has dropped five of its last six. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed all three goals on 20 shots.
Toronto put together a rush during the final seconds of regulation, and though Fleury stopped that chance, it didn't take the Leafs long to capitalize on the extra space in overtime.
Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf carried the puck the length of the ice into the Penguins end, and maneuvered around the right circle, looking to set up a good scoring opportunity as his teammates flooded into the zone.
Phaneuf passed to Carl Gunnarsson at the center point, and Gunnarsson immediately dished to Kessel in the left circle. Kessel re-directed the puck across the slot to Grabovski, who one-timed it past Fleury for the victory.
Kessel had made it a 2-2 game at the 5:07 mark of the third period, when he tipped Gunnarsson's point shot over Fleury's shoulder. Reimer stopped all 12 shots he faced in the final period to help send the game to overtime.
Pittsburgh had several leads in the first two periods thanks to Niskanen, whose point blast 6:52 into the game got the Penguins on the board.
Kulemin tied the game with about six minutes left in the first, but the Penguins went back in front early in the second. Niskanen made a strong pass through the neutral zone to a streaking Conner, who skated in unopposed and stuffed a backhander through Reimer at 6:40.
The teams combined to go 0-for-8 on the power play...Toronto's victory forced a split in the four-game season series...Pittsburgh fell to 1-1-1 on its five- game road trip, which continues Friday at New Jersey...Kessel extended his points streak to five games.