NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Toronto
(Monday, February 7th)
Final Score: Toronto 5, Atlanta 4
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Tim Brent scored what proved to be the game- winning goal midway through the third period as Toronto held on to defeat Atlanta, 5-4, at Air Canada Centre.
Clarke MacArthur, Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski each tallied a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs, who have won three of their last four games. Dion Phaneuf also lit the lamp for the victors while Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 30 saves.
"You play our game and hope you will get a couple calls your way later in the game (and that's what happened)," defenseman Mike Komisarek said of Toronto's patient approach.
Dustin Byfuglien posted a power-play goal to snap a 13-game pointless streak for the struggling Thrashers, who have not won since the All-Star break (0-3-1).
"We are getting to the point where we have to win, and I think the vast majority of our players gave all they had to win. But the small errors keep cropping up," said Atlanta head coach Craig Ramsay.
Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd and Nik Antropov each found the back of the net and Ondrej Pavelec surrendered five goals on 32 shots in the loss.
Tied at 3-3 in the final frame, Byfuglien made a costly turnover in his own zone at the 4:17 mark to give Toronto the lead for good. Kulemin attacked the defenseman's lackadaisical pass at the door step, controlled it for a split second and swept it under Pavelec for the lead.
Brent then scored the much needed insurance goal for a 5-3 edge at the 9:28 mark to finish out a three-goal streak. The score was set up by Joey Crabb's pass across the slot to Brent, who chipped it in from the slot.
However, the Thrashers answered back to make it a one-goal game with nine minutes left when Ladd pushed a loose puck past the goal line. But they could not find the equalizer the rest of the way out.
The Leafs were shorthanded for most of the first period with six penalties -- including two 5-on-3 situations.
Atlanta, which had scored just once on its last 18 power-play opportunities, capitalized twice while on the man advantage for a 2-0 lead during the first 20 minutes of play.
The first came at the 2:39 mark after Kane, who was wide open in the slot, sent a quick release shot into the back of the net off of a centering pass from Bryan Little.
Byfuglien notched the second goal on a two-man advantage with 3:46 left in the period when his booming slap shot from the left point sailed over Giguere's shoulder.
Toronto, though, came back just 1:21 into the second period for a 2-1 game on a goal set up by a turnover. Grabovski intercepted the puck and slipped it to the slot where Phaneuf blasted a shot past Pavelec.
The home team then got the benefit of penalties to knot the game at two just over four minutes in the second. On the attack as the Chris Thorburn's delay of game penalty expired, Grabovski tipped the puck in on a MacArthur center pass to the top of the crease.
Just 39 seconds later, Atlanta responded with a goal on Antropov's snap shot to take a 3-2 edge.
Toronto knotted it at three apiece with 4:23 left in the middle frame as MacArthur set up his own goal by stealing the puck behind the net. He then worked a give-and-go with Tomas Kaberle at the point and finished the return pass with a tip-in from the left side of the net.
Atlanta was 0-for-6 on the man advantage on Saturday but finished 2-for-7 against Toronto. The Leafs scored once on four power plays. Toronto is 13-11-4 as the host this year and has won three straight and five out of seven at Air Canada Centre...Rich Peverley and Little each had two assists in the loss. Kaberle registered two assists in the win...Thrashers forward Freddy Modin left the game with an upper body injury and did not return.
02/08 01:33:18 ET