In retrospect it probably wasn't such a good idea to poke the bear.
holding a 1-0 lead and the Toronto Maple Leafs
sleepwalking through the game, the Canucks super-pest Alexandre Burrows clipped Phil Kessel in the chin with his stick and then tried to engage him in a fight late in the second period.
The move backfired as Kessel woke from his slumber and led a third period rally as the Maple Leafs scored three goals in 4:42 to win 3-1
. Kessel had a goal and an assist.
"That's two games we've played against Vancouver and I think Burrows has a mandate to disrupt Phil, so it's always nice when you come out on the right end of the score in a game like that and [Phil] scores a big goal for us," said Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. "We had a lackluster, flat evening for the better part of the game and for the third period we got things going."
Kessel admitted he was a little ticked off at Burrows.
"It's just hockey," Kessel shrugged. "I wasn't too happy, but it's part of the game. There are little battles out there. It happens."
Big turnaround in 3rd
After being flat for the better part of the first 40 minutes, the Maple Leafs owned the ice in the third. And it wasn't just Kessel trying to shove it down Burrows throat.
Carlyle gave his players a little talking to between periods.
"We were pleading, begging crying with the players to change the way we were playing," Carlyle said. "It just seemed like we didn't have our sharpness in terms of making tape-to-tape passes. We tried to make plays as individuals in the second period and they just sat back with their 1-4 and trapped. We had far too many turnovers and far too many offsides."
He was tempted
With his team up by two goals and the Canucks net empty with their goalie pulled in favour of the extra attacker, Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier -- who is an excellent puck-handler -- was itching for a chance to take a shot down the ice and score a goal. At one point he caught a shot and looked for the chance to get free to shoot, but players converged upon him and the opportunity dissipated.
"I was thinking about it, but they were covering the middle," Bernier said. "Obviously when you have a two-goal lead it doesn't really matter if you get an icing so I would try to go for it."
Looking toward the Olympic hockey tournament in which he could be Canada's starting goaltender, Maple Leafs fans gave Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo a warm welcome. They chanted "Looouuuu" throughout the game. By the end of the game, however, he was drawing jeers.
The Canucks entered the game having lost six games in a row. Then they took a minor for having too many men on the ice at 1:04. When things are going bad...
Same old same old
The Maple Leafs, who are out-shot more often than not, held a 7-1 edge in shots halfway through the first period, but wound out being out-shot again 12-8 after 20 minutes.
Bad break for Bernie
Bernier, making his sixth start in a row, made a beautiful save on Vancouver defenceman Dan Hamhuis from the slot, but a few minutes later he was the victim of a tipped shot that enabled the Canucks to take a 1-0 lead. Canucks' Ryan Kesler took what should have been a stoppable shot, but it hit Toronto defenceman Jake Gardiner's stick and changed directing fooling the Leafs goalie.
Leafs' Jay McClement fell awkwardly into the boards at 4:15 of the second period and had to leave the game with a gash over his eye. He did not return to the game.
Hi, remember me?
Toronto left-winger Mason Raymond, who was cut by the Canucks and signed by the Maple Leafs last summer, tied it 1-1 at 7:23 of the third period with his 16th goal of the season. After circling the net with the puck, Raymond released a quick wrist shot that Luongo got a piece of only to have it trickle over the goal line.
Phil the Thrill
Three minutes later Leafs' top scorer Kessel fired a long-range snap shot that found its way through a crowd and gave Toronto a 2-1 lead. It was his 31st goal of the season. Left-winger James van Riemsdyk didn't get an assist on the play, but it was he who set the screen in front of Luongo. Centre Tyler Bozak did draw an assist on the goal; the 100th of his NHL career.
Van Riemsdyk popped his 24th of the season a few minutes later to give the Maple Leafs a comfortable two-goal lead.
The good old days
The organization honoured the 1963-64 Maple Leafs which won its third Stanley Cup in a row. Among the players in attendance was former captain Dave Keon, a player many feel is the greatest Maple Leaf of all-time, as well as defenceman Bobby Baun, who scored a game-winning goal in overtime in the series while playing on a broken leg. When the Maple Leafs paid tribute to players and staff that have passed away, defenceman Tim Horton drew the biggest cheer -- a 'double double' if you will.
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