Matthew Iaboni March 25, 2010
The Maple Leafs badly outplayed the Thrashers in the third period and if it wasn't for Ondrej Pavelec, the game would've been over in regulation.
Francois Beauchemin outfought two Thrashers to win the puck back to Dion Phaneuf who made a great slap pass that Mikhail Grabovski deflected past Pavelec 39 seconds into overtime, for the Leafs' eighth win their past 12 games.
Straight wins by the Leafs in overtime or the shootout.
Phil Kessel continues to remain red-hot as he scored his 29th goal of the season in the first period and he had several chances to pick up his 30th. His other best opportunity also came in the first when he wired the shot off the post.
Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Nikolai Kulemin have been unstoppable of late and Kessel has now scored four goals in his last five games as he is one shot away from his third straight 30 goal campaign.
Luke Schenn's turnaround continued Thursday as he played a strong, steady game for the Leafs. Although he didn't record a point, he had two hits and two blocked shots in 18:25 of ice-time.
Schenn played in hist 71st game Thursday which surpasses the 70 he played in his rookie season. His plus/minus is much improved from his first year in the NHL and he sits second on the team in hits (146) and blocked shots (100).
Jonas Gustavsson has now won six straight games and during that time he has put up some ridiculous numbers. What are they you ask?
Six wins, 2.00 GAA and a .924 save percentage. He has seemed more confident since he took part in the Olympics with Sweden. Although he wasn't asked to be brilliant against the Thrashers, he made the key saves when they were needed especially late in the second period.
Ron Wilson's thoughts on the Leafs' success in overtime of late:
"I think it helps having a guy like Dion (Phaneuf) in there who goes up the ice on the attack all the time. We didn’t have (Mikhail) Grabovski for two months and we really missed him in those situations and he really came through for us tonight."
Saturday March 27 vs. New York Rangers 7 PM ET (CBC, AM640)
The Leafs return home to take on a desperate Rangers who find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Rangers are coming off a huge 4-3 shootout win over the Devils. Chris Drury tied the game with only 16 seconds left and Erik Christensen had the shootout winner.