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Leafs Beat Canadiens In Carlyle Debut

Sunday, 03.4.2012 / 12:13 AM ET / News
Associated Press
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Leafs Beat Canadiens In Carlyle Debut
MONTREAL (AP) - Mikhail Grabovski broke a long goal drought to give Randy Carlyle a victory in his first game behind Toronto's bench.

After failing to score in 14 games, Grabovski had two goals in the third period to help the Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Saturday night.

The Maple Leafs fired Ron Wilson on Friday night and hired Carlyle, the former Toronto defenseman who was fired by Anaheim in December.

"I was a little nervous, a little butterflies, but I didn't make too many mistakes, I thought," Carlyle said. "It's different when you haven't been behind a bench for three months and it's a new team, but we got through it. The assistants did a great job."

Matt Frattin also scored and Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves to help Toronto end a six-game winless streak and win for only the second time in 12 games.

"It's obviously a nice way to start," Carlyle said. "I thought our team put out an effort. It's impressive when you can go into the other team's building and hold them to under 25 shots and score two big goals in the third to eke out a win. I asked them to skate and not worry about anything but what our focus was, which was to win the game. We stayed with our game plan. We played hard, we got some breaks and our key guys scored some goals."

Erik Cole scored for Montreal.

Grabovski made it 2-1 midway through the third period after the Maple Leafs caught Montreal on a line change. Clarke McArthur slid a pass to Grabovski, and the Belarusian center used Alexei Emelin as a screen to beat Carey Price with a high shot from the slot.

"It was one of those games that could have gone either way," Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges said. "Unfortunately, we made a mistake on their second goal. We left a defenseman (Yannick Weber) out to dry and the next thing, it's in the back of your net."

Grabovski added his 20th goal on a power play with 53 seconds left.

"We still have a chance to make the playoffs, we're trying to get points," Grabovski said.

Carlyle had said when he took over that the Leafs seemed tense, and nerves showed as Montreal controlled the early play and opened the scoring when David Desharnais fed Cole for an open shot 7:16 into the first.

Frattin tied it in the second period.

Notes: Scott Gomez and Aaron Palushaj both sustained eye injuries against Minnesota on Thursday night, forcing the Canadiens to call up Louis Leblanc and Andreas Engqvist from Hamilton of the AHL. ... Colby Armstrong sat out for Toronto. ... A fan fell from the middle tier of seats into the lower bowl before the game. A Canadiens spokesman said that while he - and the fan he landed on - were taken to a hospital, neither of the fans' injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

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