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Maple Leafs slip past Stars 3-2 in OT


December 05. 2013 10:36PM
Associated Press



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(AP) Trevor Smith scored at 4:18 of overtime to help the Toronto Maple Leafs end a five-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday.


The Maple Leafs won for the first time since Nov. 23 despite being outshot for the 10th consecutive game, this time 50-24.


Nazem Kadri scored twice for the Leafs in his return from a one-game absence to attend his grandfather's funeral. It looked as if his second goal would stand.


But Toronto's best penalty-killer Jay McClement took a tripping penalty late in the third and Shawn Horcoff scored when he tipped Kevin Connauton's shot past Jonathan Bernier at 17:14 to tie it a 2-2.


Bernier finished with 48 saves.


It looked as if Horcoff had a goal at the 9:42 mark of the third when he deflected Vernon Fiddler's power-play point shot in. But referees waved it off immediately and video review upheld the no-goal decision because of a high stick.


Before that moment, it was Kadri's night.


The day after his grandfather's funeral, Kadri acknowledged that the failing health of the 77-year-old, also his namesake, distracted him. He kept checking in to see how his grandfather was doing and was caught by surprise when he died Monday morning.


Kadri had just three points in six games after returning from a suspension Nov. 23. Injuries to his teammates also were a factor as well.


But yet another injury this time Tyler Bozak's oblique strain gave Kadri an opportunity to center the top line of James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel.


Kadri made the most of his promotion against the Stars, scoring 58 seconds into the second period off some sharp passes from Kessel and van Riemsdyk, who got tangled up with Dallas defenseman Trevor Daley before setting up the goal.


With Daley in pain in the corner, Kessel won a puck battle with Stars center Tyler Seguin, who returned after missing two games with a concussion, and sent the puck to van Riemsdyk, who found Kadri for his eighth of the season.


Daley had to be helped off the ice by teammates Alex Chiasson and Alex Goligoski and did not return with what the Stars announced as a lower-body injury. Dallas is already short on its blue line without Stephane Robidas, who suffered a broken leg Nov. 19 against Chicago.


The Stars tied it early in the third period, taking advantage of a bad change by the Leafs. Erik Cole left the puck in open ice for rookie Valeri Nichushkin, then went to the net.


Nichushkin got it to Horcoff, who tapped it to Cole at the side of the net for his fourth goal of the season 1:52 into the third.


But Kadri wasn't done making an impact in his return. At the 6:58 mark of the third, Kadri skated in front of the net and tipped defenseman Cody Franson's point shot past Kari Lehtonen to make it 2-1 Leafs.


NOTES: The Leafs held a pre-game moment of silence to honor Nelson Mandela. His name along with his dates of birth and death were put on the scoreboard along with a profile photo of the South African leader. ... Winger Jerry D'Amigo, called up earlier in the day as the Leafs placed Bozak and enforcer Colton Orr on injured reserve and Jerred Smithson cleared waivers, made his NHL debut playing on the fourth line. ... Defenseman Morgan Rielly was a healthy scratch for the Leafs as Cody Franson returned after missing three games with a lower-body injury. ... Van Riemsdyk was presented with the Molson Cup as Toronto's top player in November. He had five goals and two assists last month.


Associated Press


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