Leafs lose in shootout; Hollweg suspended
The only turkeys to be found at the Air Canada Centre Monday afternoon were on the ice and they were all wearing Toronto Maple Leaf uniforms.
Brad Boyes scored the winning goal and Manny Legace made a great glove save on Pavel Kubina to lift the St. Louis Blues to a 5-4 shootout win over the Leafs in a Thanksgiving matinee in Toronto.
The Leafs led 3-0 at one point, but let the game slip away, coughing up three consecutive goals during a five-minute span early in the second period to let the Blues back into the contest.
Boyes and Andy McDonald scored for St. Louis in the shootout, while Russian rookie Nikolai Kulemin replied for Toronto. Nik Antropov and Kubina failed to score in their shootout attempts.
"We've got to get our heads out of our butts in the first period," said St. Louis goaltender Manny Legace, laughing. "Our goalie wasn't very good in the first period for us tonight, but the boys battled back and picked up an amazing two points for us."
Compounding Toronto's misery was Leafs forward Ryan Hollweg, who received an automatic three-game suspension from the NHL after he was assessed a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct early in the second period.
Leafs came out flying from the opening faceoff, using their speed to dominate the Blues and outshoot St. Louis 15-4 in the first period.
Tomas Kaberle opened the scoring at 3:22, blasting a cross-ice pass by Legace.
Kulemin made it 2-0 at 14:06, scoring on a back-hander following a horrendous St. Louis giveaway inside its blue-line. Alexei Ponikarovsky found the back of the net two minutes later when he tipped in a Jason Blake shot to stake Toronto to a 3-0 lead.
The Leafs appeared to have the game well in hand, but all of their good work came undone early in the second period.
Automatic suspension for Hollweg
Boyes scored 33 seconds into the period for St. Louis and things went from bad to worse two minutes later when Hollweg was given a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct for a questionable hit on St. Louis's Alex Pietrangelo.
It marked an inauspicious debut for Hollweg, who was playing his first game in a Leafs uniform after serving a two-game suspension for being assessed a boarding major in a pre-season game against St. Louis on Oct. 6.
Under league rules, Hollweg must now serve an automatic three-game suspension, which will increase by one game each time he gets a game misconduct in the future.
"The coaches are working with him," Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher said of Hollweg's penchant for bad decisions. "Hey, he doesn't want to be out of the lineup, either.
"I'm not sure what will happen. I'm sure I'll hear from the league [Tuesday]."
Patrik Berglund and Keith Tkachuk scored on the ensuing power play, and suddenly the game was tied 3-3 after 5:35 of the middle frame.
Niklas Hagman scored his first goal as a Leaf with six minutes left in the period to restore Toronto's lead, but Paul Kariya tied things up again for St. Louis when he scored on a back-hander at 4:21 of the third.
With St. Louis pressing in the waning minutes, Toskala made a great glove save on Tkachuk to send the game to overtime.
Toskala made another highlight reel stop to rob Tkachuk from in close in the dying seconds of overtime with the Blues swarming on the power play.
Toronto's next game is in New York against the Rangers on Friday.