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Comeback Falls Just Short

Tuesday, 15.11.2011 / 10:27 PM / News
The Canadian Press
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Comeback Falls Just Short
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are frittering away their good start to the season.

Patrick O'Sullivan and Radim Vrbata scored shootout goals Tuesday as the Phoenix Coyotes overcame a furious Toronto rally to record a 3-2 victory.

The teams put on an entertaining overtime period that saw them trade chances back and forth. Toronto's Tyler Bozak missed on a breakaway, while Coyotes veteran Ray Whitney was left looking skyward after Ben Scrivens robbed him with a big glove save.

Shane Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in regulation for Phoenix (9-4-3).

Mike Komisarek and Phil Kessel replied in the third period for the Maple Leafs (10-6-2), who have dropped four straight games at Air Canada Centre.

Toronto started the season with a 7-1-2 record but has gone just 3-4-1 since. The team is also facing injury concerns after Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur both left the game.

Scrivens got the start in net and had a tough time in the opening minutes. Doan opened the scoring at 1:54 after linemate Mikkel Boedker stole the puck from Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf as he fell to the ice. He got the puck over to Doan, who scored with a wrist shot that Scrivens got a piece of.

Ekman-Larsson extended the lead to 2-0 at 5:18 with a long wrist shot from the point that found its way through traffic.

That appeared to be a particularly big hole for a team that has struggled to score of late. Virtually all of the team's offence has come from the top line of Kessel, Bozak and Joffrey Lupul during the recent slump.

The Leafs sprung to life when Komisarek managed to end Mike Smith's shutout bid with his first goal since October 2010. The defenceman jumped in off the point and converted a pass from Matthew Lombardi at 2:08 of the third period.

That was soon followed by Kessel's league-leading 13th goal on a power play. The Leafs sniper snuck in off the boards and slammed home a rebound to make it 2-2.

Scrivens ensured that was enough to get the game to overtime by coming up big on a penalty kill in the final five minutes and getting his glove on a hard Martin Hanzal shot after that.

Toronto was forced to finish the game without two-thirds of its second line. MacArthur didn't return for the third period because of a lower-body injury and Grabovski hobbled off with a few minutes to play following a collision at centre ice.

Notes: Phoenix is 6-0-0 against the Leafs since the lockout, outscoring them 29-13. ... Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic took in the game. He faces Pete Sampras in an exhibition match at Air Canada Centre on Thursday night. ... Announced attendance was 19,522.

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