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Maple Leafs 4 v. Panthers 3: Victory Snatched

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The Toronto Maple Leafs did just enough to jeopardize a strong effort but ultimately they beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 in a shootout. Kris Versteeg opened the scoring by banking a shot off of Scott Clemmensen's posterior. Darryl Boyce created havoc in front of the net which helped distract the former Marlies goaltender. Boyce's Marlie running mate, Joey Crabb, helped give up the lead by failing to cover for Luke Schenn which led to a 3-on-1 that the Panthers finished.

26 seconds later the Means of Production Line helped the Leafs regain their lead. Mikhail Grabovski burst out of the Leafs' zone and down the wing taking the puck deep into the Panthers' zone. Clarke MacArthur created a turnover below the goalline and found Nikolai Kulemin who notched his career best 17th goal of the year with a beauty wrister to the far side.

The Leafs' coughed up that lead in the second period before Grabbo joined Kulemin in the ranks of forwards with new personal bests with his 21st of the year off of his shin. As a reminder, that is three more than Montreal's top scorer Brian Gionta. The Leafs actually played a pretty solid third that was almost wiped out by a stupid Phil Kessel elbowing penalty. Kid created a number of goal scoring chances including a ridiculous end-to-end rush in overtime but if the Leafs had lost the goat horns would have been firmly planted on his head. Instead, Ron Wilson used science to win:

"If you study the statistics, Clemmensen doesn't have as good a save percentage against righties," Wilson said after the game. "The next [shooter] would have been Phil [Kessel] and possibly even Joey Crabb, so we're going righties until we're either winning or losing tonight.

James Mirtle

Tyler Bozak scored on a nice move and Colby Armstrong absolutely undressed Clemmensen. All in all, a pretty good game by "Tuesday night against the Southeast Division" standards. The Game in Six is after the jump. What'd you think of the game?

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